Thursday, 15 December 2011

On the Mat Day 216: Breaking Closed Guard

I attended F-sensei's class last night. He has decided that our sparring must start from closed
guard. After the person inside the guard has broken out, we can proceed to whatever sparring we want. I remember always wanting to do this as a white belt because in my first competition I was stuck the entire time in the guy's guard. Since then I have added a few guard breaks to my arsenal and no longer feel any anxiety when put in closed guard. It's still a dangerous position to be in though. I like to grab with both hands on the pants at the opponent's hips then move one knee into his butt and slide out the other leg to put pressure on his ankles. This has been working for me quite well. Another pass I do but infrequently now is either the Tozi(Wilson Reis) pass or the logsplitter which slices your knee between his legs while holding down his armpits.

The reason we are doing this training now is that almost everyone at the competition on the weekend could not break out of closed guard and ended up being submitted. Most people at our dojo work open guard all the time. However, I often still use closed when nothing works for me in half-guard so I switch to closed. I was told by the guys who went to the comp. that they got caught when the opponent went for a flower sweep then converted to an armbar. I think this is a common sequence.

So what should both parties be working on in closed guard? From my experience I have listed the points below.

  • Always maintain good posture, sit with your feet flat and never with the ball of your foot kicking into the floor as this will raise your center of gravity.
  • Keep your elbows tight against your sides so the attacker cannot use any gaps to control you.
  • Look up. Consciously making yourself look to the ceiling. Do not let the attacker pull your head down to him. If he is pulling on your head, shaking your head vigourously can make his hands slip from your head so you can move back to base.
  • Never let your hands touch the floor. Always keep them on his torso. Staggering your grips (lapel and pants) gives good posture.
  • If he opens his guard looking to attack always keep your elbows in with both arms over his legs or under his legs. Both arms should move as a set basically.

  • Always keep attacking. The opponent must defend and therefore cannot yet think about breaking your guard.
  • Always use the power of your legs around the opponent to move him in an attempt to unbalance him.
  • If he postures up, pull his head down to you.
  • If his arms are tight at his sides, pull on the outside of his elbows. A combination of head and elbow is also good.
  • If all else fails, open your guard when you decide. This will allow you a few seconds until he realizes that he has to now work on the pass in which you can launch an open guard attack.
  • Don't stick to one attack. Use a feint. Pretend to work on a choke but watch to see if an arm will become susceptible to a submission. Even if you are not good at chokes, use them as a feint. Your opponent does not know you are weak with chokes.

Sparring time: 6 x 6 mins = 36 mins

Notable moments: Finishing Fuji with an armbar after realizing a previous mistake. Basically I rushed the setup from S-mount. When I was successful I leant forward with my body giving him no room to turn and escape, then only when I felt the arm was snug against me I sat back. Shaolin roll back sweep from half-guard on F-sensei.

Current goal: Side control escapes/preventing side control

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