We have seen last week how the closed guard works, few attacks from there and now i would like to develop the concept of how to break this guard. I know from personal experience how this guard can be difficult to break during a competition. People tend to keep this guard when they are over of a couple points (or even advantage) and when there is few time left.
Losing a competition like this is very frustrating, so let’s see together on what points to train to avoid this.
Proper way to stay in the guard
- Posture: Your opponent’s goal to try any submission is first to break your posture, this will reduce your over body strength and allow him to attack easier. If you try to stand up with a broken posture, your opponent can easily sweep you (so, don’t do that). So, you want to keep your posture straight and strong, check this video who gives the essential points to regain the posture avoiding mistakes.
- Create pressure against his feet, to make his hooks tired and under pressure, that will help you to break easier the position. Hooks strength is provided by the dorsiflexion muscles, aka the muscles located on the front part of the tibia. Those muscles, in general are not trained that much, so their resistance is limited.
- Mind your elbows. “Opened” elbows means having a fragile posture, your opponent can easily bend them. So keep your elbows close from your body and keep pressure on your opponent. More details in this video.
Passing the guard
Obviously the first thing to pass the guard is to break the hooks. If you are standing up straight, your opponent might either follow you and still have a standing closed guard, or sweep you. We don’t want this to happen.
- Block his arms and stand up with your legs. You will still keep pressure with your arms on his arms, avoiding him to put a lasso or a spider guard. Then transfer one hand on his belly and one on his knee to break the hooks. Demonstration by Marcelo Garcia.
- One way to pass the guard is to pass both arms under is legs (Both, if you pass just one, you give a triangle), surround his legs, have a good grip and pressure pass. Here the demonstration by Keenan cornelius.
- A classic pass would be to put one knee under his hips, on the middle. This would avoid him to be mobile. Then, with your hands on his hips, you might push his hips down, and put pressure on his feet to break the hooks. Then with a combat base, pass with a knee slide, still keeping pressure on him.
Reacting after your guard has been broke
On the other way, if you are the guardeiro and your opponent is breaking your guard, how can you react ? There are many ways to continue and to have the advantage on your opponent.
- You might do a tripod sweep. If you keep one arm or even one lapel, you need to grip with your other hand the ankle, on the same time you need to put your opposite leg on his hips. Then you can engage the tripod sweep. I leave you here a very good video demonstrated by Renzo Gracie.
- If you can keep a control on his leg or collar and one leg on his feet, you can attempt a Yoko Tomoe nage. This will give you 2 points, and you can follow him to take the mount. Here is a video from the standing so you can visualise the technique. If you are still on the floor, you absolutely need to be very close from his feet. Otherwise your might not be able to throw him (even worse, he might pass you.)
- You can always stand up. I know most of the people don’t want to stand up in jiu-jitsu. I personally think in some situations it might be very much useful. On a pure tactical point of view, standing up might be the way to finish those few seconds before the end of a fight. Obviously stand up only if you feel confident enough.
- Whatever opened guard. De La Riva, X-guard, Single X, Spider… Just to name a few. Having your closed guard broken is just a step on the game. I am sure you train this on a daily basis.
To finish, i will leave you some very good video about breaking the closed guard or what to do after. We have the chance in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to have a countless amount of videos on the net made by champs or very experimented professors. I selected those video because I really liked the way it is shown or because i thought the technique was good. But i recommend you to search as well by yourself and to ask around. Everybody can give you small details that might be game changing for you. Enjoy !
Breaking closed guard
Article written by Around the JU