Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 01/08/2016
When they have the standard grips from closed guard, with one hand grabbing your collars by your chest and the other back by the hip, the two-on-one grip break is a good one to try. Gather their sleeve in your fist (i.e., a pistol grip), then your other hand goes underneath their arm, grabbing your own wrist. The positioning here matters: you want to get the sleeve grip with your arm on the inside.
With that configuration, you can either punch straight up to break their grip, or angle your hips away slightly. Make sure that you maintain your grip on their sleeve, straightening your arm. You want to push their arm across their body, while simultaneously pulling in with your knees. The intention is to collapse them on top of their arm. Due to the grip configuration, your outside hand can reach around to their far armpit. Hook your fingers in for a solid hold, then twist your elbow in firmly. Combined with your stiff-arming sleeve grip, that should rotate their torso and make it hard for them to turn back towards you.
You can now shrimp slightly away from them, keeping your bottom foot in tight to act as your first hook. Shrimping away may be enough to drop them into back control. If not, use the heel of your top foot to dig into their hip, spinning them into back control.
Teaching & Sparring Notes: I'm surprised I don't seem to have taught this one before, so it's about time I showed a back take from closed guard. Seemed to work ok: next time, I'll emphasise that you want to get their arm horizontal, across their chest. Bringing their arm up by your head is better for other things: that arm needs to be pinned underneath them. This is probably even more important for the sweep I'm teaching on Wednesday. Shrimping away to take the back might need some more emphasise too, along with hooking your heel to help turn them over.
I haven't had to pass closed guard for a while and I'd forgotten how hard it can be! This month, I'll get lots of opportunities to work on that. As I've said so many times over the last decade, I absolutely MUST get more comfortable standing up in closed guard, that's super important for opening it. I am frequently lazy and stay on my knees, which sometimes works, but I can't rely on that.