Closed guard – sometimes named Full guard – is often the first guard taught to beginners and still an effective guard in the highest levels. This guard has a great control over your opponent, even if you are the one on the ground.
In this guard, the legs surround the opponent and are locked behind his back. This prevents him to stand up easily. The guardeiro will often control the head or the lapel to break his opponent’s posture, which will prevent him to attack or defend well.
From this position you can attack, sweep or transit to another kind of guard.
This position can be also used to “relax” and recover during the BJJ fight, since the one on the bottom will have less effort to control is adversary. However it can be a very dangerous position in MMA if the arms are not properly blocked and if the opponent’s posture is not completely broken, for the simple reason that the opponent can strike some efficient punches. To prevent that, you must keep his head down, block securely his arms (plus open your leg to sweep him.)
The closed guard has a very big amount of variation, brazilian jiu jitsu is in constant evolution. Let’s see some of them.
Basic closed guard
As i previously said, this guard is achieved when the fighter in bottom position surrounds his adversary’s hips with his legs, having a strong hook behind his back. A better control will require to the guardeiro to have his hips up (not on the floor), straighten his knees, put the ankles downwards and grip the collar to assure an optimum control.
This is a guard popularized by eddie bravo for the 10th planet Jiu jitsu. The rubber guard was created for the “two worst case MMA scenarios”:
1 – “The elite striker that you can’t take down”” . The principle given by Bravo is that if the guy in front of you is an excellent striker, you might need a bjj strategy and eventually pull guard, then use the rubber guard.
2 – “The elite wrestler that can take you down at will”. Eddie Bravo says the rubber guard also works in the case you are taken down by someone better than you at this.
The guard’s main point is to keep and control your opponent’s posture broken. In order to achieve this you need to be in a very high position, locking your legs and feet around his neck. The rubber guard limits your adversary’s striking options. Video here
The tough point of this guard is the flexibility needed. You need to get very flexible with your hips and knees, otherwise you won’t be able to settle it correctly, even worse, you can injure yourself. Eddie Bravo gave few tips to improve this flexibility.
Pit stop guard, (also called the high closed guard or climbing guard)
The pit stop is as well a high closed guard. It is very close to the triangle position, except that your opponents arms are both between your legs. In one side, your leg is over his shoulder, the other side, you leg is under his armpit. Basically you trap both of your opponent’s shoulders.
This guard has a very good control over your partner, because being high on him will give him loads of troubles in keep his posture and escape. Also he will be in constant danger from armbars, omoplata or triangles.
An other high closed guard (high guards makes you break your opponent’s posture), the leghook guard is very used in MMA as well, this guard provides you a good control over your adversary and limits his striking possibility.
In this guard, you have both of your legs under uke’s armpit. You break his posture and need to pass one of your arms under one of your legs (on the poplitea) and then have a strong grip joining your hands together, you need as well to hook your leg together behind his back.
You have numerous submissions from this guard, on of those is the ghost choke, here is the video by joe Camacho. On the more classical attacks, you can attempt the triangle or the omoplata.
The closed guard are just a part of all the possible guards in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Here are just 3 variations of it that it might be interesting to work on, since they are all 3 useful in gi, nogi and MMA. A good control over the adversary during the execution of the technique will definitely give you opportunity of sweeps or submission. It might be use to make your opponent tired before attempting something. On the next article i will try to give good options against the closed guard and defend it. Because it is very frustrating to lose a competition for few points under and you have been stuck in your opponent’s guard.
To complete those informations, there is few good videos about the closed guard who give you tips and concepts to master it.
Article written by Around the JU