Opening the closed guard is one of the first steps to passing your training partner’s guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. BJJ is about simplicity and effectiveness. Every BJJ student should understand this rudimentary technique to open the closed guard.

Stay Safe

When you are working to pass the closed guard, the first thing you want to do is to stay safe. You stay safe by keeping your posture up. If your posture is down, it is easier for you training partner to attack you. Not only does this keep you safe, it makes it easy to pass your partner’s legs.

Close your partner’s jacket by pinning their lapels together with your right hand. Put your palm right where your partner’s ribcage meets. Don’t have your palm too close to their belt line. If you do this, your partner can sit up and this restricts your wrist.

Place your left hand by your partner’s belt, grabbing their pants right where they wrinkle on the side of their right hip.

The Key Principle

Now bring your right knee on the inside. Lock out your arms, and bring your right knee close to your partner’s left hip. Then bring your left knee far back, and bring you hip far away from their hip.

The key principle is that you need to create space between your hip and your partner’s hip to force their ankles to uncross.

As you are doing this, make sure you maintain your arms in their locked position. First, this will help you conserve energy. Second, your partner won’t be able to pull you down. Third, if your arms are relaxed instead, you’ll drag your partner’s body with you. Maintain your arms in locked position so your partner remains glued to the floor. Then as you bring your left knee and hip back, hopefully you’ll open up their ankles.

If your partner’s ankles aren’t budging, use your left forearm and elbow to pivot off your hand’s grip and force their right knee down. If your left knee is up too high, you won’t be able to pin their right knee to the ground. Make sure to bring your left knee back.

Make sure to bring your left hip back as well. Then curl the small of your back away from your partner’s ankles. Do this and use your left forearm to bring their right knee down, prying through their guard.

Once you have their right knee down to the ground, bring your left knee through your forearms. Check their right thigh with your left forearm as you do this. Rest your knee close to their belt line – make sure it is not too far away.

Check out my demonstration in the video below.

Video: BJJ Breakdown: How To Open the Closed Guard

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