Are you confused about the definition of the Open Guard? You are NOT alone. In fact, when I started BJJ someone tried to explain the different variations of the Open Guard to me and I think his explanation left me more confused than I had been originally.
So, what is the Open Guard?
We’ll get to that in a second but let’s take a quick step back and talk about the Guard in general first.
At it’s most basic level the Guard position can be broken down into 3 primary positions (click on each link for a much more detailed breakdown of each Guard position):
For each of these three positions – but especially for the Open Guard – here are a TON of variations.
Spider guard, butterfly guard, de la Riva guard, inverted guard, cross guard reverse de la Riva… these are all variations of the Open Guard. The primary common denominator of all these variations (and many more that I didn’t mention) is that both legs are engaged in controlling your opponent and that your legs are NOT crossed behind his back. In other words you’re not in Closed Guard with your legs crossed behind his back and you’re not in Half Guard where both of your legs control one of his legs.
Below is a 1 minute and 40 second crash course on the Open Guard, including the one thing you must NOT let your opponent do if you’re trying to control him from there.
Note that this video is a short excerpt from the ‘Guard Sweeps’ app for iPhone and iPad (here’s the link for the same app in Android format).