The closed guard is one of the best, but most difficult positions one can use while on their back. However, more and more students are opting out of using the closed guard to utilize fancier guards like de la riva guard, spider guard, and so on. If drilled adequately, though, the closed guard can be just as good as any of those fancy guards, maybe even better.
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The problem we all face from the closed guard don’t stem from the difficulty of the moves but are timeliness in attacking them. Therefore, it can be expected that by improving quickness and smoothness, we will have a more effective closed guard. The single best way of improving those two things is by drilling.
This short, yet simple drill is a great way to improve your ability to attack the arm bar. First, I recommend you start in a full arm bar. To do the drill, your partner should be relaxed with their arms laying flat on top of you. Proceed by taking your leg off their head and swinging it wide and hard to the other side. If done correctly, the momentum should allow you to attack an arm bar on the far side. Keep going side to side for 1-2 minutes.
Submission Chain Drill
For this drill, your opponent will start with both arms in your guard. You are going to lock an arm bar in any fashion you choose. Your partner will proceed by pulling their arm out, which will allow you to lock a triangle. After getting the triangle, your partner needs to curl their arm and hide it behind your legs. From here, switch to the easy omoplata and then restart in the closed guard.
Hip Bump Drill
This last drill is one of my favorites for improving speed and explosiveness. If you know how to do the hip bump sweep, aka the sit over sweep, you can easily learn this. You will start in the closed guard. Open your legs and put your feet on the ground. From here, sit up as if you are going for a hip bump sweep, with the exception that you don’t finish. With each rep, sit back down and start from the beginning.
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