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Closed Guard Blueprint for Jiu Jitsu Beginners

Closed Guard Blue Print

A question I was asked last week was what guard should a beginner learn to use first. The answer is simple and effective. It has to be the closed guard.

In Open Guard positions like Spider, De La Riva, or X-Guard, the positions are about as complicated as the names might suggest. They require timing, an understanding of grips and movement, and a good level of guard retention. All of these things will come in time, but in the meantime, you should focus on using the closed guard to stop your opponent’s movement and have methods to sweep or submit them from that position.

Here's a list of techniques I think you should know from this common position that will serve you well-

Cross collar choke

Arm Bar

Triangle Choke


Hip-Bump Sweep

Flower Sweep aka pendulum sweep

Schoolboy Sweep aka Lumberjack

I would encourage anyone who is a white belt to have a good knowledge of these, and to learn how to use them as low-risk, high reward attacks.

The closed guard is the best guard to learn as a Beginner as you can control your opponent and predict their movements more or less. In Open Guard scenarios, the positions are more fluid and unpredictable.

A good plan for when you’re on bottom is to neutralise the natural advantages of being on top- namely gravity (weight) and movement. Closed Guard allows you to use your hips and legs to keep their weight off you, and to wrap them up so that they cannot move on their feet or knees.

 Knowing those few techniques will allow you to keep an opponent under pressure and capitalise on errors in posture or position they might make.

Hope that helps this week.

See you on the mat,


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