Three Reasons To Utilize The Closed Guard

With all the new moves we see coming to the competition scene every year, it is easy to get lost in the hype.

In the last few years we have seen the rise of the worm guard, lapel guard, the 50-50 take over advantage system, and many other guards and strategies. The evolution of jiu-jitsu is insane and I’ll be the first to admit I am always trying to play the newest and most confusing games.

However I think a lot of practitioners (especially newer ones) under-develop their closed guard. So many people write it off and pull straight to some form of open guard that when you think about it, it really is silly.

Here are the top three reasons to keep your damn legs closed (pardon the double entendre).

      1. Simplicity– The closed guard is often written off for being “too basic” or “too simple”, and guess what? In many ways, it is. This simplicity stems from how easy it is to control someone’s posture with the force of your legs and hips. I think people sometimes forget that the closed guard can be a super pain to pass. My own instructor (Anibal Lobo) has often referred to it as your first layer of defense. If someone can’t open your closed guard then there is no reason to transition to an open guard, but the option will always be there.
      2. Street Effectiveness– There is no denying that jiu-jitsu is a great self-defense. It is also common sense that we would never pull De-La-Riva on the street or any other fancy guard. If we are attacked, one of two things will happen: A) we will clinch and get the takedown; or B) we will get taken to the ground and end up working the closed guard. When punches are involved it is important that we know how to use out hips and legs to break the attackers posture and protect ourselves from punches. You simply either can’t use the modern guard systems on the street or you will get overwhelmed with punches. Should we end up on our back in an attack, we need to be proficient with the closed guard. Bear in mind I am not referring to black belts. Most black belts will murder any attacker on the street. I am referring to the need of white, blue, and purple belts to master the closed guard before moving on to the fancy stuff.
      3. Base – The Closed guard is a base to build on for all of the other guards. If you hope to teach someday or if you are still a beginner yourself, you need to use the closed guard in order to build on. Learning triangles, arm-locks, chokes and just about any other move is just easier to learn in the closed guard than any other. Most of the open guards require a certain degree of skilled movement to transition to attacks or sweeps that can seem unnatural to newbies. On the other hand, most of the positions from the closed guard can be understood quite a bit easier.


I am sure many of you can agree with these simple points as they are pretty much common sense. However I always like hearing your opinions, so feel free to tell us what you think about the closed guard.


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