Let’s get into control fundamentals for the Closed Guard. Hopefully, these tips will help improve your knowledge of this ever evolving, important position.
Obviously, most students of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu have an intimate relationship with the Closed Guard, where your legs are wrapped around the opponent’s body with the feet crossed. Breaking their posture down by wrapping behind the opponent’s neck and pulling them down helps to keep them close. This makes is easier to set up sweeps and attack with submissions. Being lazy with your legs is one of the most common issues while in this position. Bring your knees towards your chest to assist in breaking the opponent’s posture. The higher your legs are on their back the better.
Work the angles by moving your body either side-to-side via your hips, or by rotating to the side on your upper back. Adding in arm control (i.e. underhooks, overhooks, sleeves, etc.) will help amplify submission attempts or just your positioning. Getting head control is good, but focus on securing arm control. Become a believer in utilizing arm drags to employ cross-arm pulls. This intensifies working the angles.
Don’t always be content fighting off of your back. Uncross your feet and sit up sometimes. If you have long legs you may be able to sit up while keeping your feet crossed for even more control. This is even more important if you are unable to control your opponent. Maybe they are just stronger than you and are able to posture up at will, or even uncross your feet. Switch to an Open Guard position instead where mobility is more important than control.
Here's some ideas on gripping for the Closed Guard in the Gi:
· Have your legs up high to break their posture more efficiently
· Cross grip and pull the opponent’s arm across their center line
· Always work on “killing their arm”
· Experiment with and utilize leg control and pant grips
How about some ideas on grip control for the Closed Guard in NoGi:
· Swim your arm(s) from below and “wax off” the opponent’s arms as you bring your knees towards your chest
· Overhook an arm to establish head control
· Grab their wrist(s) and use your shin(s) to block their bicep (Stage 1.5) – Good position to set up Triangle Chokes
· Double hand clamp over their shoulder, or over the shoulder and neck – Good for working angles
Go back and reread these Closed Guard Control tips a few times. Then try using them during your live rolls vs your opponents. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how effectively you can control an opponent within your Guard once you understand how dynamic the position can be.
Learn. Drill. Roll. TRANSFORM!