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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

25 November 2014

25/11/2014 - Artemis BJJ | Open Mat | Closed Guard Posture & Side Guard

Class #606
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Open Mat, Bristol, UK - 25/11/2014

After the great session yesterday, I was ready to really delve into my issues with closed guard. I didn't want to drill technique so much as drill posture, both in terms of my posture and off-balancing theirs. That's as opposed to just breaking their posture down. I can happily do that, but I tend to do it square on. Today, I would be veering off to the side.

My guard is currently pretty much all predicated off a combination of two techniques/positions I've taught before, the Relson deep collar grip when in cross-grip guard. Previously, after that private lesson with Kev on guard, I've had the collar grip and put an arm behind. That's fine for open guard (although as I'll be discussing in the Wednesday write-up, I've been missing one simple detail that makes a big difference), but doesn't translate so well to closed guard. My approach to the cross-grip in closed guard has been getting the Relson grip, then fighting to get the second grip (either yanking underneath for the choke I like, or somehow over the top).

Drilling it with Chris today, in my usual pattern of light resistance, then switching over so I could see how they use it, worked perfectly. The goal of that approach is to learn something I might not otherwise realise, which is exactly what happened. Chris was able to twist my posture much more effectively, because he was getting the sleeve grip with his non-collar hand, rather than purely looking for that choke. As soon as I switched to the sleeve (I was going for the elbow), suddenly I found my guard becoming offensive. I popped my hips off to the side, moving into 'side guard' (I think? I've seen Jason Scully use that term, though I haven't watched the associated videos yet).

That opens up all sorts of attacks. If you can get their arm, you have some pressing armbar options along with wristlocks, plus the omoplata. If they hid their arm, then you have a route to the back, especially if you speed up your trajectory by using the collar drag and kicking out their other knee. Side guard means I can finally break my pattern of grip, break posture, they recover, grip, break posture etc. Having the elbow is the addition I needed, judging by today, especially if I do it at the same time I move my hips across.

If I can get the gift wrap from guard (pulling their arm around their neck), that's even stronger. Push the arm across, then reach behind their head and grab that wrist. Another option I randomly ended up doing was instead of reaching behind their head, I pulled that gift wrapped sleeve under their far armpit. That lent itself well to the windscreen wiper sweep. I also played around with underhooking the arm, attacking for keylocks and the like.

Again thanks to having Chris do the same thing, that led to another option. I was finding that I could keep my posture and stop him moving to the side, using my knees to control his hips. However, because I needed generally to push him down to block his choke attempts in particular, that extended my arm. He managed to nicely time it so that at one point when I extended, he was moving his hips to that arm's side. With his hips underneath the arm, it was ideally set up for him to trap it, raise his hips and go for the armbar. Even better, he had my other arm squished in such a way I couldn't use it to defend. Nice! Also good from the top person perspective: when I do get submitted from guard, it's often armbars as I forget about over-extending.

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