The closed guard is one of the most difficult positions to defend from in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. While the attacker has a variety of potential options to use against you including sweeps and submissions, the only real option the defender has is escaping. We often think of the closed guard as a position we can pass from, and this makes it a problem. If you look at the closed guard as a position you need to escape from first, you can set your priorities appropriately.
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In the gi, breaking the closed guard is a little bit easier because of the availability of lapel grips. Without the gi, the same sleeve and lapel grips you can use in the gi are no longer an option. Because of this, we need to determine what we can use and what the best way to use it is. The first closed guard break people learn is from the knees, placing the hand on the hip and pushing the knee down.
The simple guard break I mentioned above may work in the gi but does not work well without it. The guard player can easily manipulate your hands and posture making this guard break impossible. This means the first thing we need to change is where we place our hands. The ideal hand positioning is one that limits the defender’s mobility while providing the best stability to break the guard.
The two hand positioning that work best are over hand grips on the biceps or v-grips on the armpits. These grips allow you to control the guard player’s movements and give you great stability for moving around. The next thing we need to focus on is standing up. In order to stand up though, these grips must be established. If your hands are on the hips and you try to stand, your opponent will easily break your posture by using their legs.
To stand correctly, you need to make your feet light. This is simply done by forcing your weight onto your hands and stepping one foot up at a time. When standing, its important to have a solid and wide base to maintain balance. After establishing the standing position, most grapplers will open their guard for you. If they don’t, you can easily put your hand on their knee and begin applying pressure to open their guard.
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