Thread: My Closed Guard
12/20/2005 9:58am, #1
My Closed Guard
I'm sure we've all heard how open guard is more advanced and everynoe at high levels uses it and blah blah blah. Carlos Gracie Jr. spoke about closed guard at his last seminar at Gracie Barra Tampa when he showed close guard attacks. He loves open guard, of course, but his message was "Why not tire them out and beat them from closed guard if you can?"
I love open guard too since it's fun and loose and all that funk, but since closed guard was my focus when I first started training, I've found it is still my more aggressive guard, with both submissions and sweeps. It's what I go to when I've got someone I really need to put the pressure on.
I can't claim this is a complete breakdown of all the possible grips, attack and combos from closed guard, but it's what I use, and I thought it might be interesting to share.
Note: The way I'm using it, "closed guard" doesn't only refer to having your ankles cross, but also those positions where your legs are open but can be easily reclosed.
One of the first things I did when I'm trying to figure out closed guard was break down the grips. Here's what I operate off:
Control Points (with your arms)
* Underhook the legs
That's just no-gi. With the gi, you can pretty much grip anywhere, as well as get into special gips like belt grips, looping overhooks to holding their collar, or wrapping lapels over and around arms and shoulders.
As for the legs:
* Low guard
* High guard (climbing guard)
* Crooked guard
* Feet on hips
* Grapevines (I've used this maybe twice when I felt like being a jackass.)
Gi or no-gi, I can also get into the rubber guard control points, like Mission Control, New York, London and Meathook. With the gi, I'll do London with one arm by grabbing the back of their collar.
After I worked out the grips, I listed the main sweeps and submissions so I know what options I have:
Sweeps and Submissions
* Pendulum (flower) sweep
* Scissors sweep
* Hip bump sweep
* Collar choke
* Omoplata (and its sweeps)
* Reverse armbar
("Wristlocks WTF?" I actually use wristlocks to setup armdrags to take the back quite a lot. It's a hilarious counter to them posting on you. With one hand, hold their hand against your stomach or hips, and with the other hand pull their elbow into your stomach as you sit up. Armdrag when they spaz trying to free their hand.)
While not a sweep or submission, taking the back is also a serious weapon.
And these are just from knees. If they stand, I've got more stuff like the kick sweep, handstand sweep, star sweep and kneebar.
Switching to different open guards or half guard is also an option. But that's not the issue here.
Once I've got the sweeps and submissions worked out, I started looking for combinations. This is basic strategy building.
Basic Combo: Collar Chokes and Armbars. You go for a collar choke, he defends but gives up the armbar. You go for an armbar, but he defends so you get the choke. Simple but workable.
Sit-ups: Kimura, guillotine, hip heist. In no-gi, you can add the neck crank turnover. These moves are all based off sitting up and trapping one side of his body, and any one of them sets up others. For example, if he defends the kimura but leaves his head out, go to the guillotine. He defends the guillotine, go for the hip bump. Or neck crank turnover when he tucks his chin. Hip bump, he posts, go to kimura. These can go in pretty much any order.
Three Brothers: Armbar, Omoplata, Triangle. Whenever they escape one, you've almost always got the other. For example, he pulls his arm out of an armbar, go to an omoplata. He postures out of the omoplata, go to the triangle, and so on.
Rubber guard has its own submissions, sweeps and strategies that I'm not even going to bother going into here.
Here are some simple combos and setups I've come up while training:
Use collar choke to setup an armbar, he defends by stacking, counter with pendulum sweep. Too heavy to sweep, come back the other way and take the back since his arm is crossed.
Go for a pendulum sweep, but he defends by posturing, so you pass your leg over for an armbar. Or he frees his arm and posts on the mat, giving you space to go to a triangle. He defends the triangle by keeping his arm uncrossed, go to the omoplata. He defends the omoplata, roll bellydown for the omoplata sweep. Or go to gogoplata.
Break posture with neck control and climb guard, get an under and overhook. Frame neck to create space, escape hips and hug their arm to your shoulder for reverse armbar. He frees his arm by turning it in, keep his arm crossed and take the back.
Anyway, I just thought I'd share how and why I like closed guard, since I don't really buy the idea that open guard is always better than it. Close guard has its own combos and strategies, and even though it's "one position" by name, you can use it to play many different games.
Last edited by Aesopian; 12/20/2005 10:04am at .
12/20/2005 10:29am, #2
Very nice. I must admit I'm not familiar with the terminology for rubber guard that you used, could you go into a little more detail on that (London? Mission control??).
Do you count the Ezekiel among the collar chokes? I find it extremely useful to create space to either go to the kimura/ hip bump position or set up armbars if they defend.
I consider closed guard the best part of my game, and I agree that if you are a little flexible in the approach (not just keeping the legs closed until the cows come home), you can make the other guy's life miserable playing all those games you mentioned. Open guard seems to be more risk at less reward.There are no wrong threats, only wrong answers. (Strategy game truism)
12/20/2005 10:37am, #3
The ezekiel is a collar choke if just in the sense that you've not going to get it unless YOU are at least wearing a gi. I actually never use it, though I could probably hit it all the time. The choke I do instead is a loop choke where I hold their collar at about shoulder level (not deep like cross collar choke) and raise my elbow as I pass my other arm behind their head and under my forearm (keeping my elbow lower than their head so they can't pull their head out), and leaning to the side to drop my elbow as I straighten my arms for the finish.
I'll dig up some photos of rubber guard positions later.
12/20/2005 11:15am, #4
Mission Control is the basic starting position from rubber guard. It's when you've broken their posture and climbed your guard, getting one foot behind their head and holding it with the opposite hand. The other foot is on the hip. Like so:
New York is when you get an overhook with your free arm (so their hand is in your armpit) and hug behind your knee. It's just another way of applying London (below) without letting go of mission control. No photo.
London is a grip from guard where you have an overhook on an arm (so it's in your armpit) then reach behind your knee and clasp your hands together. It puts a lot of pressure on their shoulder and locks in the position. Photo:
It's good for setting up many attacks from guard, and it works right into rubber guard.
The meathook is when you reach behind your foot and around to their armpit, like this:
It is primarily used as triangle setup.
12/20/2005 11:23am, #5The ezekiel is a collar choke if just in the sense that you've not going to get it unless YOU are at least wearing a gi.There are no wrong threats, only wrong answers. (Strategy game truism)
12/20/2005 12:38pm, #6
Here's a photo of New York:
9/07/2006 7:49am, #7
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Back to the top for a great thread...
As well as the fore mentioned techniques, I also like to use the arm drag when the opponent tries to break my guard with knee in the middle.
9/07/2006 10:46am, #8
Originally Posted by Aesopian
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- Aug 2006
- San Carlos
(Thanks for taking the time to cover all the basics. A lot of posts here cover specialized stuff, but not the essentials a beginner like me needs to know about. I'm sure I'll be looking at this list a lot over the next year. Now, all I need is a checklist for escapes, since I just generally end up being sat on.)
9/07/2006 11:45am, #9
One thing I've come to realize since writing this is how important it is to be able to squeeze your knees and curl your legs, without fatiguing, in order to climb your guard and maintain pressure. I saw that Baret Yoshida does this a lot when he's climbing for armbars and triangles, but the point was really driven home when Eddie Bravo repeated it ever 2 minutes at his seminar. If you can't do this well, you'll find that you keep slipping down after climbing, and you'll have to have really fast hip movement instead (like shooting up for submissions).
9/07/2006 6:08pm, #10
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- Sep 2006
Any videos of Baret? Thanks