The Guard position in Jiu Jitsu can be one of your best weapons if you have a fully developed knowledge of how to use it. On the flip side, if you lack an understanding of this versatile position it can be one of the most frustrating places to be whether on top or bottom. There are a plethora of variations on the guard position. Closed, half, turtle guard, crab guard, butterfly guard, worm guard, and several other members of the animal kingdom have lent their names to the various forms of this position. In this article we will focus on the basics of the full or closed guard since that is where you will spend a lot of time early on in your Jiu Jitsu journey. Below we will cover some basic rules and principles to remember. It is important to remember that in life and especially in Jiu Jitsu that rules are made to be broken, but only after you have a thorough knowledge of the possible consequences of breaking those rules in relation to the possible reward you seek from breaking them.
Full Guard Top
The Full Guard occurs when you find yourself on top of your opponent with his legs wrapped around your waist as opposed to The Mount which puts you on top with your legs straddling his waist. Your first priority in this position is to get to a strong base. Keep a wide base on your knees while keeping your butt as low as possible. It is generally good to have a strong upright posture with your hands braced on the hips. The man on bottom will want to break your posture in order to attack your neck and arms or look for sweeps, so do not lean forward or reach to control his arms or neck. Controlling your opponents hips is far more important. If your opponent has a grip on your collar or sleeve, address them and break them before moving on with your attack. Avoid the temptation to drive yourself forward to put more weight on your opponent or attack them with armlocks or chokes from the guard position. Your only focus when on top in the guard is to break free of the legs and look to advance position to either a side mount or mount in order to finish your opponent.
- Wide base, strong upright posture, break grips
- Stay on knees or stand up straight, do not drive forward
- Look to pass and advance position do not look to submit your opponent in the guard
Full Guard Bottom
It is almost always preferable to be on top of an opponent, but if you focus on developing your guard it can be a deadly weapon against any opponent. I believe firmly that you should be relentlessly offensive from the full guard. It is easy to control and dominate a passive opponent on the bottom, but an opponent that attacks constantly is extremely difficult to control and can quickly drain the life out of someone on top. Start by controlling your opponents posture. Keeping your ankles crossed behind their back, constantly pull on the neck and elbows while using your legs to bring their body forward. From the bottom position, first look to sweep and reverse to gain the top position, your second option is to submit them with an armlock or choke. Sweeps and submissions set eachother up nicely, so constantly attack both. An opponent fighting hard to stay on top will often expose his neck or arm to a submission and vice versa, in an effort to avoid being submitted your opponent may give up his top position. The third option from the bottom is to make enough space to stand back up which can also lead into a sweep, submission, or take down and reversal of position.
- RELENTLESS OFFENSE
- Control Posture of the top man
- Look to sweep, submit, or stand up
- Common submissions include X choke, armbar, kimura, arm triangle, guillotine