Closed Guard: When most people think of guard position in Jiu jitsu, the first image that comes to mind is closed guard. That’s probably because it is usually the first form of guard that most people are taught. It is probably the oldest,most traditional form of guard. With the plethora of new types of guard coming out over recent years many ask whether closed guard is still relevant, especially with the rapidly developing no gi game. The answer, I believe, is an unequivocal YES. Closed guard will always be relevant no matter what other advances are made in jiu jitsu bottom because of the very same unchanging principles and concepts that made it the first major choice of guard generations ago. Closed guard is unique in so far as it positions the most important part of your body your HIPS, above your opponents hips - even though you are in bottom position OVERALL, your hips are in top position. This has immediate consequences. It means that, unlike any other guard, if you sweep an opponent you will finish mounted, rather than merely top position in front of an opponents guard. If at any time you get past your opponents elbow, you will be rear mounted. In addition, unlike any other form of guard, closed guard creates a tactical asymmetry in so far as your opponent cannot realistically attack you as long as your guard is closed, but you can attack him at will. Another important difference with regards closed guard is that unlike any open guard, it enables you to control DISTANCE between you and your opponent. The lock of your feet enables you to hold him within your guard and thus the distance between you and him is determined by you. In open guard your opponent controls distance and therefore chooses the time and place of engagement. These fundamental facts about closed guard make it a position that every jiu jitsu athlete has to take seriously in their development. Oftentimes I hear people say that their body type is too short or stocky to use closed guard. I have has numerous students whose body type seemed unpromising for closed guard but who nonetheless used it very effectively. Good tactics can almost always find a way around apparent physical limitations.
Author - John Danaher