The closed guard is likely the first guard you will learn when you start your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu journey. It’s a guard that gives you and your opponent equal weight in terms of position.
Mastering the closed guard becomes essential for any Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. You have to learn your sweeps, defenses, and submissions from this guard, and when all else fails, you have to be able to escape to a safer position.
Let’s review 5 submissions you should master from the closed guard.
As the closed guard will most likely be the first guard you will learn in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the armbar is likely the first submission you will learn. This does not mean, however, that it is easy and you should move on to the next submission. Mastery of the armbar submission solidifies a major milestone in your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu progression. It shows that you understand posture, you understand timing, and you understand the fine details necessary to finish a submission.
From your closed guard, grabbing your opponent’s arm, and positioning their elbow on your belly, will set up the next set of steps to finishing the armbar. Covering your opposite arm over your opponent’s caught arm will allow you to use your same-side forearm to push away your opponent’s face. This will give you enough space to swing your same-side leg in front of your opponent’s face, while your other leg slides up your opponent’s back, resting at the position that both your legs are parallel to each other. Retract your same-side hand to meet your other hand at the wrist of your opponent’s caught arm. Finishing the submission requires you to squeeze your knees together, bringing your hips up off the ground, and pulling your heels downward, towards the floor.
The Kimura submission is accomplished by getting your opponent’s hand to the mat. This could occur when your opponent is resting their hands on your core to keep their posture, or when trying to sweep your opponent to their back and they place their hand on the mat so as to retain their base.
In either scenario, hook your arm that is opposite the side that they are posting on, around the based arm. Using your same-side hand to grip your opponent’s based wrist will secure the arm in place so your opponent cannot retract their basing arm. Finishing this submission requires you to grab your wrist with your overhooking arm’s hand, forming a figure-4 grip with your opponent’s arm. You must fall to your back then to your inside, and slide your leg up your opponent’s back to prevent a front roll escape. Make your opponent tap to this submission by turning your opponent’s arm that is in the figure-4 hold, towards their head.
An immediate reaction to your opponent not wanting to get submitted with a Kimura is to square up with you, driving you to your back in the process. Because you don’t have the angle anymore once you are on your back, a good submission option would be to ditch the Kimura grip and circle your arm around your opponent’s head landing with that hand chin-strapping your opponent’s chin.
Connect your hands together, preventing your opponent from posturing up. Finish this submission by placing one leg over your opponent’s back, preventing their front roll, and secure the tap by compressing in a crunching motion so that your overhooking elbow touches your knee on that side.
Sometimes finishing the guillotine will prove difficult. Maybe your opponent’s ability to breathe is better than expected, or maybe you just don’t have the correct positioning. Rather than continue to squeeze in hopes that your opponent taps, an effective alternate ending would be the “100%.” Maneuver the arm that was overhooking the head to under your opponent’s armpit and out the back. It’s important that you keep your opponent’s head positioned in your armpit so as to continue breaking your opponent’s posture.
To complete the “100%” submission, simply take your arm that is overhooking your opponent’s arm and meet your other hand, forming a gable-grip. Apply downward pressure with your lat and armpit, while your clasped hands provide upward pressure, forcing your opponent to tap from the pressure placed on their neck.
Another submission option you can land on your opponent when you get their hand to the mat is the Gogoplata. You must be sure to overhook that arm, however, so that your opponent doesn’t regain their posture. You will find it useful to slide your leg that is on this trapped arm side, up your opponent’s back and secure it in place using your free hand from your other arm gripping your shin.
Finishing the Gogoplata is straightforward. You can use your arm that is overhooking your opponent’s arm to hold your leg in place by hugging your knee with the same arm. This frees up your opposite arm so that you can use that forearm in a scraping motion, opening the space up near your opponent’s neck. Bringing your shin in front of your opponent’s neck sets the leg positioning necessary to secure the tap. Reach behind your opponent’s head with both hands and pull it over your shin. Your opponent will surely tap out.
When you master these closed guard submissions, your opponent will think twice about entering your guard at all. Put in your daily reps to continue to perfect your submissions from each guard. Remember, however, that the closed guard, as with other guards, is one of many you should become familiar with. Having the ability to switch to different guards based on the current scenario is important to becoming a dynamic Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player. When you get comfortable with closed guard, seek new guards to experiment with.