Closed Guard

A Simple Drill to Shut Down Your Opponent’s Guard Pass

Drill for Guard Pass Prevention

  I don't usually have to spend a lot of time sitting around and dreaming up new crazy techniques to put onto my Youtube channel... Typically all I have to do is look back at the last couple of training sessions I've done and something obvious to talk about pops right out at me. In the case of today's video, I was working with a friend who was having trouble with his guard getting … [Read more...]

A 4 x World Champion Teaches the Omoplata from Closed Guard

omoplata from the closed guard by Bernardo Faria

In this video my friend (and 4 x world champion) Bernardo Faria takes you through the old school omoplata armlock from the closed guard. I have seen Bernardo tap out everybody, from white belt to black belt, using ONLY the omoplata armlock at one of his seminars. It was incredible.  So needless to say he's really bloody good with the omoplata and a great person to study for this attack! As … [Read more...]

How to Train BJJ with an Injured Neck

How to train BJJ with a sore neck

Necks are delicate things.  Seven small stacked cervical vertebrae protecting all the nerves in your spinal cord and held together with a multitude of flimsy ligaments and muscles. Yet in BJJ we stress the neck continuously.  We attack it with chokes, crucifixes, and cranks.  We stack our opponents, turn their heads with crossfaces, and scissor his head with our legs.  We also use our head and … [Read more...]

Here’s Why Your Guard Attacks Don’t Work

why most guard attacks fail

When you first learn an sweep or a submission from the guard you usually learn the steps in a 1, 2, 3 manner. "First grab the sleeve and lapel like this... Then open your legs and escape your hips... Now put your foot on the hip and pull him forward...." And so on Then you go ahead, learn all the steps, and get your repetitions in.  You do all the prep work. But then, when you try to … [Read more...]

The Reverse Armbar from Closed Guard

The Reverse Armbar from Closed Guard

I was a white belt when I first saw the reverse armbar from closed guard (also known as the 'arm crush', the 'razor lock, and the 'cutting armbar'). At first I was pretty skeptical. I had all kinds of reasons why it probably wouldn't work. And then I started running into more and more people who had been submitted by it... And then I started getting caught in it too... And then I … [Read more...]

Blocking Headbutts in the Guard

Blocking headbutts from the bjj guard

As I've said many times before, BJJ is a fantastic sport and fitness activity but at it's core IT'S A MARTIAL ART. And that means you have to keep an eye on how this stuff would work in a real fight. Someone recently asked me what you can do to prevent getting knocked out if someone on top of you is trying to headbutt you into oblivion. Good question.  It's an important topic: before they … [Read more...]

Dealing with Big, Strong Wrestlers in Your Guard

Teaching a class

I got the following question on Twitter where I hang out as @stephankesting. I think it's a question worth exploring because a lot of people find dealing with strong, large and aggressive wrestlers very difficult. Question: Hi Stephan, I’ve been training BJJ for a few years now, but I get frustrated when I roll with one particular bigger, stronger whitebelt coming from a wrestling … [Read more...]

The BJJ Self Defense Experiment

Other submissions that were used in the BJJ Self Defense Experiment

Have you ever wondered if your BJJ would stand up in a self defense situation against an opponent determined to clean your clock with his fists? By the end of this article I'm hoping you'll have a much better idea of what to focus on to sharpen your BJJ skills for self defense purposes... The self defense implications of grappling are important to me (click here to see my other posts on the … [Read more...]

How to Defend Strikes on the Ground

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You're walking down the street, someone bumps you, words are exchanged, you get pushed to the ground, and now some big gorilla is trying to knock your teeth down your throat.  No matter how focused you are on the sportive aspects of grappling you've still GOTTA know how to defend strikes on the ground!!! It doesn't matter if your goal is casual recreation or if you wanna be the next UFC … [Read more...]

How To Use Moves You Already Know to Do Advanced Techniques

From Advanced BJJ Fundamentals mobile app

We've just launched the latest Grapplearts BJJ instructional mobile app with my friend Brandon 'Wolverine' Mullins. It's called Advanced BJJ Fundamentals. The name of this app isn't accidental, because it's all about using the fundamental building blocks of jiu-jitsu to make learning easier, to amplify the effectiveness and reliability of your techniques, and to build an advanced … [Read more...]

Three and a Half Techniques to Escape from a Tight Closed Guard Overhook

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Just the other day I shared four counters to a pesky deep cross-collar grip from closed guard. Well, the cross-collar grip isn't the only way your opponent might try to destroy your posture... There's another posture-breaking grip that can be just as bad, and unlike the cross-collar this one can be used in BJJ, MMA and submission grappling.  Gi and no gi.   … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Cross Lapel Grip from Closed Guard

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Your opponent sneaking his hand deep on your lapel is always a bad situation. Once he has this grip on you from his closed guard he can use it to break your posture forward, which kills your ability to pass the guard and is very tiring to fight against... ...or he can use it to attack you with cross-collar chokes (which have ended a LOT of matches)... ...or he uses your frantic reactions … [Read more...]

How to Not Get Slammed in Your Closed Guard or Triangle Choke

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Getting picked up and slammed when you've got your opponent in the closed guard is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to you in grappling. It's definitely a legitimate technique for big and strong guys to use. And in MMA and self defense slamming an opponent is one of the best ways to open the guard, or to escape a tight triangle choke. Getting power-bombed and then and … [Read more...]

How to Open a Stubborn Closed Guard

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Passing the guard and establishing a stable position is maybe the single hardest thing to do in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You can know a ton of guard passing techniques, but what if you're in the Closed Guard and can't start your pass because your opponent absolutely refuses to open up his legs.  He just keeps you in his guard with his ankles crossed and wears you down with his wickedly strong legs, … [Read more...]

Some Tweaks for Tightening the Armbar from Closed Guard

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Chances are that the armbar from guard is one of the first techniques you ever learned in BJJ. In fact the closed guard armbar is one of those fundamental techniques that results in submissions every day at every BJJ school in the world (in fact it's the fifth most popular submission in a poll of 533 Grapplearts readers). But just because you learned it early in your career, and just because … [Read more...]

How to Transition from Half to Closed Guard

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The half guard is a sophisticated tool in the grappler's toolbox that can be used to defend, sweep your opponents, or submit them outright. But just because you've got a hammer doesn't make the whole world a nail. And that means that you can't rely on any one guard position as the be-all-and-end-all. Even if you're a half guard wizard you'll still end up facing opponents who know all your … [Read more...]

Some Principles and Concepts for an Effective Closed Guard

Closed Guard

Too often people forget about the bread-and-butter strategies that have been effective for decades and get seduced by the latest shiny technique. Maybe there's not a better example of something that has stood the test of time like the closed guard. The closed guard has been controlling and submitting opponents with the gi, in no gi submission grappling, in MMA and self defense for a very … [Read more...]

The Easiest Way to Teach (and Learn) the Armbar from Guard

Teaching the armbar from guard

The armbar from guard is one of those bread-and-butter techniques in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A signature move, if you will. Unfortunately it can also be difficult for some people execute the mechanics of the armbar from the guard correctly. It's easy to get confused with all that gripping, shifting, adjusting and swivelling, and then completely botch the whole technique. But I've found a … [Read more...]

A Closed Guard Pass Direct From Brazil

Gordo Closed Guard Pass

I’m in the middle of trying something new at Grapplearts.com… The lion’s share of the BJJ videos in the article and technique section of this site have been produced by yours truly (Stephan Kesting). But recently one of my very first BJJ training partners also wanted to contribute some cool footage to the video vault. … [Read more...]

What Do White Belts Need to Learn in Their 1st Year of BJJ?

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by guest author Mark Mullen I'm currently in Rio de Janeiro doing a little training in BJJ. While here I have met a number of white belts at the Connection Rio BJJ hostel. Sitting around the pool or over acai after training, inevitably the topic of conversation turns to BJJ and the struggles of the white belts trying to find their way in the art suave. … [Read more...]