The closed guard is a familiar position to all BJJ practitioners. We learn the ins and outs early and it quickly becomes a hub in our BJJ training.
As we progress, we get exposed to multiple guards and we may find a guard that we prefer over the closed. With that being said, the closed guard will never be irrelevant, and no matter how many different guard games develop, it will always be a key player in our jiu-jitsu.
Solid Techniques That Will Improve Your Half Guard! Click Learn More below!
Knowing how to get back to the closed guard is a skill in itself, especially when someone doesn’t want to be there. I remember early on in my training; the closed guard was a home base that I could retreat to when things got a little crazy. Aggressive passers would give me lots of trouble and I always felt that if I could get them in to my closed guard, I could slow the game down and give myself some time to reset and try again. Most of us probably have or had this same relationship with the closed guard at some point in our training.
Whatever may necessitate a want or need to get back to the closed guard, there are proper ways of doing so. Lachlan Giles has recently released some great content on this particular subject.
We fail constantly when we try to keep our guards composed and one of the results of this failure is the half guard. How many times have you struggled to keep someone from passing and landed in a half guard situation? Especially as beginners, we find ourselves here quite often. In this first video, Giles demonstrates how we can efficiently get ourselves back to a closed guard scenario, so we can try again. Check it out!
Before taking the bottom position, Giles explains that one of the greatest detriments to getting your closed guard back is allowing the passer to control your bottom leg and the space that surrounds it. Keep this in mind.
From the bottom position, Giles’ partner is settled in with a classic set of controls; a cross face and an under hook. His first order of business is performing a bridge that puts his partners head in line with his own. This gives Giles the opportunity to hip escape and insert a knee shield at his partner’s hip. He then extends his knee shield, creating room for him to enter his butterfly hook. With a tight grip on his partners head and the cross-facing arm trapped inside his locked grip, Giles begins to elevate his partner as if he were hunting for a sweep. His partner is forced to catch his balance which opens up a large pocket of space. With this space open, Giles can now escape his legs and recompose his closed guard.
Giles offers an important tip at the close of the video on the control aspects of the upper body. With his hands locked there is a chance that his partner can still post on his elbow, or even stretch his arm and post with his hand. To clean this up, Giles stretches a bit. This removes the elbow from the floor and also provides a bit of an off-balancing effect that will help to sell the sweep even harder.
This is incredibly practical and even more common. Everyone needs a good road map to get back to the closed guard from half guard, as it is something you will continuously experience, especially as a beginner. Like I said before the closed guard is somewhat of a lifeline when were first learning. It can turn a really aggressive furious passing exchange in to a much more manageable situation. Great tips here.
In this second video, Giles shows us how to return to the closed guard with a more advanced opponent. Let’s take a look!
Giles opens with some advice on staying out of the closed guard from a standing passing position. He explains that most times to keep the guard player from pulling him in, he connects his elbow to his knee. This keeps his partner from lifting his hips and wrapping him with his legs. If the arm is extended here, the space can be used to claim the closed guard. Additionally, Giles can also pin one of his partner’s legs using a headquarters style position or by forcing a half guard scenario.
Let This Aussie Killer Teach You Some New Stuff From Half Guard! Click Learn More below!
As he flips from top position to bottom, Giles begins explaining that one of the crucial elements of reclaiming the closed guard is to get the passers elbow separated from their knee. He also advises us to get control of our partner’s posture in some form.
In the first example, Giles take a grip on the collar and one on the sleeve. He couples this with posting his right leg on his partners far hip and begin to push. As he opens up, he pulls his elbow high separating his partner’s arm from his knee and creating space for his left leg to begin climbing the body. From here, Giles can establish the closed guard and begin to pull his partner in.
In a second variation, Giles uses the same grip set, but not plans his foot on his partners bicep. Giles fights for position here as his partner tries to remove the foot, always circling to keep that inside track. From here, Giles performs a hip escape, and then place his shin in front of his partner’s shin. He then stretches his foothold on the bicep to his right side and kicks out with his left instep to disconnect his partners elbow from his own knee, bringing him back in to the guard.
There’s a lot of highly applicable information here. Sometimes we forget how much of an advantage it can be to return to the closed guard, keep these techniques in mind, and keep your closed guard strong!
Want more from Lachlan Giles? Check out his DVD “The Half Guard Anthology“, and get to work on improving your half guard! BJJ Fanatics has it! Check it out here!