Open Guard vs Closed Guard: Which Technique Reigns Supreme?

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When stepping into the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you enter a complex tapestry of positions, techniques, and strategies.

Two of the most fundamental positions you will encounter are the closed guard and open guard.

Each possesses its own unique set of advantages and challenges, begging the question: which guard is right for you?

Join us on this journey as we unravel the mysteries of the closed guard and open guard, exploring the tantalizing world of control, submission, transitions, and creativity.

Prepare to dive deep into the heart of BJJ strategy and unlock the secrets to becoming a master on the mats.

open guard vs closed guard

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), the closed guard and open guard are two distinct positions with different characteristics and advantages.

The closed guard involves the practitioner closing their legs around the opponent’s waist, offering control and the opportunity for submissions and sweeps.

On the other hand, the open guard does not involve closing the legs around the waist and allows for transitions to different guard positions.

The closed guard is considered a top offensive guard, providing control and a range of submission options.

Meanwhile, the open guard encourages creativity, offers a variety of sweeps and attacks, and allows for smooth transitions to different guards.

The open guard is advantageous in self-defense and MMA as it creates distance from the opponent, making it harder for them to strike.

Conversely, the closed guard can leave the bottom player vulnerable to strikes in MMA and self-defense scenarios.

While the open guard is commonly used in gi and no-gi grappling at the advanced level, the closed guard can be easier to pass compared to the open guard, especially for lower-ranked belts.

However, the open guard can be more challenging for beginners as it requires precise control of the opponent without the body connections provided by the closed guard.

To be well-rounded practitioners, it is recommended to learn both the open and closed guard for offense and defense.

Key Points:

  • Closed guard involves closing the legs around the opponent’s waist and offers control, submissions, and sweeps
  • Open guard does not involve closing the legs and allows for transitions to different guard positions
  • Closed guard is a top offensive guard with control and a range of submission options
  • Open guard encourages creativity, offers sweeps and attacks, and allows for smooth transitions
  • Open guard is advantageous in self-defense and MMA for creating distance from the opponent
  • Closed guard can leave the bottom player vulnerable to strikes in MMA and self-defense situations

open guard vs closed guard – Watch Video


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Pro Tips:

1. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the open guard refers to a position where the person on the bottom has their legs free to move and attack, while closed guard involves wrapping one’s legs around the opponent’s torso to control and restrict their movement.

2. The open guard is said to be the most versatile guard position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, allowing for a wide range of offensive and defensive techniques, while the closed guard is generally considered more defensive in nature.

3. In traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu, the closed guard was considered a dominant position, as it allowed the practitioner to control and attack the opponent with various joint locks, chokes, and strikes.

4. The open guard can be further classified into variations such as butterfly guard, spider guard, De La Riva guard, and X-guard, each offering unique grips, sweeps, and submissions.

5. Closed guard is often used as a defensive position to neutralize an opponent’s attacks, whereas open guard can be used to create opportunities for sweeps, submissions, or transitions to other guard positions in order to gain a more advantageous position.

Introduction: Closed Guard Vs Open Guard In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Bjj)

In the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), two common guard positions are the closed guard and the open guard. These positions involve different techniques and strategies that practitioners utilize depending on their goals and circumstances.

The closed guard requires the practitioner to close their legs around the opponent’s waist, providing control and offering opportunities for submissions and sweeps. By maintaining a tight grip, the practitioner can limit their opponent’s mobility and set up various attacks. It is an effective position for controlling and neutralizing the opponent’s movements.

On the other hand, the open guard does not involve closing the legs around the opponent’s waist. Instead, it allows for transitions to various guard positions. The open guard offers more mobility and flexibility, allowing the practitioner to create angles and set up sweeps or submissions. It requires good timing and precise footwork to defend against the opponent’s attacks while also initiating counterattacks.

In summary:

  • The closed guard involves closing the legs around the opponent’s waist, providing control and opportunities for submissions and sweeps.
  • The open guard does not involve closing the legs around the opponent’s waist, allowing for transitions to different guard positions.
  • The closed guard offers control and limits the opponent’s mobility, while the open guard offers more mobility and flexibility.
  • Both guard positions have their advantages and applications in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, depending on the practitioner’s goals and circumstances.

“In BJJ, understanding the characteristics and applications of the closed guard and open guard is crucial for an effective ground game.”

Understanding The Closed Guard: Control And Submission Opportunities

The closed guard is widely considered one of the most effective offensive guard positions in grappling. It offers excellent control over the opponent and opens up several submission opportunities. By securing their legs around the opponent’s waist, the practitioner effectively limits their movement and hampers their striking ability.

This control not only allows the practitioner to dictate the pace of the match but also sets the stage for a range of submissions, including arm bars, triangles, and chokes. Moreover, the closed guard serves as a stable foundation for executing sweeps, facilitating the transition from a bottom position to a dominant one on top.

To summarize:

  • The closed guard is known for its offensive capabilities and control.
  • It restricts the opponent’s movement and striking ability.
  • Submissions like arm bars, triangles, and chokes can be executed from this position.
  • Sweeps can be used to transition to a dominant position on top.

Breaking Down The Open Guard: Transitions And Versatility

The open guard differs from the closed guard as it does not require the practitioner to close their legs around the opponent’s waist. This guard position allows for creativity and offers a variety of options including sweeps, attacks, and transitions to different guards. Some popular techniques that can be used from the open guard include the spider guard, butterfly guard, and de la Riva guard. The open guard also allows practitioners to create distance from their opponent, which can be beneficial for both self-defense and MMA situations.

In summary:

  • Open guard does not involve closing the legs around the opponent’s waist.
  • Offers a range of sweeps, attacks, and transitions.
  • Popular techniques include the spider guard, butterfly guard, and de la Riva guard.
  • Allows practitioners to create distance from their opponent, making it more challenging for them to strike effectively.

Note: The open guard provides a safer option for self-defense and MMA situations.

Offensive Advantage: Exploring The Strengths Of The Closed Guard

The closed guard is a powerful position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) that offers offensive advantages. By locking the legs around the opponent’s waist, the practitioner gains control and restricts their movements, rendering them less effective. In BJJ competitions, the closed guard proves especially valuable as it enables the practitioner to earn points by attaining a dominant position and attempting submissions. Consequently, the closed guard serves as a formidable technique for those aiming to assert dominance over their opponents.

Embracing Creativity: Sweeps And Attacks In The Open Guard

The open guard is known for its emphasis on creativity. It allows practitioners to explore a wide range of sweeps and attacks, catching their opponents off guard. Sweeps from the open guard utilize the opponent’s momentum to unbalance them and reverse positions. Additionally, attacks from the open guard include various submissions such as armbars and triangles, as well as intricate sweeps that lead to dominant positions. The open guard’s versatility and creativity make it an exciting and dynamic guard position.

  • Emphasis on creativity
  • Wide range of sweeps and attacks
  • Utilizes opponent’s momentum for sweeps
  • Includes submissions like armbars and triangles
  • Intricate sweeps leading to dominant positions

“The open guard’s versatility and creativity make it an exciting and dynamic guard position.”

Safety First: Open Guard For Self-Defense And MMA

When it comes to self-defense and MMA, the open guard provides distinct advantages over the closed guard. By maintaining distance and employing techniques that create space, the practitioner can make it harder for their opponent to strike effectively. In these situations, where strikes may be incoming, the open guard’s ability to create distance and avoid direct contact can prove crucial. Furthermore, the open guard allows for quick transitions to other guards or movements, enabling the practitioner to adapt to different scenarios rapidly.

Vulnerability In The Closed Guard: Risks Of Strikes In Mma And Self-Defense

The closed guard is a position that provides control and various submission opportunities. However, it can leave the practitioner vulnerable, particularly in MMA and self-defense scenarios. In this position, the practitioner’s head and upper body are often within striking range of the opponent’s punches, elbows, and ground and pound techniques. As a result, it is essential for the bottom player to utilize effective defensive techniques and look for chances to transition to a more favorable position. While the closed guard can be an offensive position, the defensive risks must be carefully considered.

  • The closed guard offers control and submission opportunities.
  • Vulnerabilities exist in MMA and self-defense situations.
  • The practitioner’s head and upper body are within striking range.
  • Effective defensive techniques are crucial.
  • Transitioning to a more advantageous position is important.

Advanced Level Grappling: Open Guard In Gi And No-Gi

At the advanced level of gi and no-gi grappling, the open guard emerges as a prominent guard position used by skilled practitioners. In gi grappling, the open guard allows for the leverage provided by grips on the opponent’s sleeves, collars, or pants to control and manipulate their movements. These grips provide enhanced control and create opportunities for sweeps and submissions.

In no-gi grappling, where grips are limited, the open guard enables quick transitions, scrambles, and attacks, making it an effective guard position for advanced practitioners in both gi and no-gi environments.

  • The open guard is utilized by skilled practitioners at the advanced level of gi and no-gi grappling.
  • In gi grappling, the use of grips on the opponent’s sleeves, collars, or pants enhances control and creates opportunities for sweeps and submissions.
  • In no-gi grappling, the open guard allows for quick transitions, scrambles, and attacks, making it an effective guard position.

Pass Or Pass: Comparing The Difficulty Of Passing Closed And Open Guards

Passing the closed guard can be a challenging task, even for experienced practitioners. The closed guard’s control and submission threats make it a formidable barrier to overcome. However, passing the open guard can prove to be equally challenging due to its versatility and constant transitions. The lack of body connections in the open guard makes it harder for beginners to maintain control over their opponents, especially against more experienced practitioners. The difficulty of passing both closed and open guards underscores the importance of understanding and mastering different guard passing techniques.

  • Passing the closed guard is a challenging task
  • The closed guard provides control and submission threats
  • The open guard is equally challenging due to its versatility and transitions
  • Beginners struggle to maintain control in the open guard
  • Understanding and mastering guard passing techniques is crucial.

Beginner’s Challenge: Controlling Opponents In The Open Guard

For beginners in BJJ, controlling their opponents in the open guard can be a significant challenge. Without the leg control provided by the closed guard, beginners often struggle to maintain control and prevent their opponents from passing or advancing. Therefore, developing a strong open guard requires patience, technique, and an understanding of leverage and timing.

Practitioners at all levels are encouraged to embrace the challenge of the open guard and focus on developing their control and transition skills in this versatile guard position.

Both the closed guard and open guard are integral guard positions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. While the closed guard offers control and numerous submission opportunities, it also leaves the bottom player vulnerable to strikes, especially in MMA and self-defense situations.

On the other hand, the open guard encourages creativity and provides a wide range of sweeps and attacks. It also allows for smooth transitions to different guards. Another advantage of the open guard is that it creates distance, making it harder for opponents to land strikes, and thus increasing safety in self-defense and MMA scenarios.

Hence, it is essential for practitioners to develop proficiency in both guard positions in order to have a well-rounded offensive and defensive game in BJJ.

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You may need to know these questions about open guard vs closed guard

What’s the difference between open guard and closed guard?

In the context of beard grooming, the difference between an open guard clipper and a closed guard clipper lies in the outcome they provide. The open guard clipper is designed to keep your beard longer and evenly trimmed, resulting in a neat appearance. On the other hand, the closed guard clipper is used to achieve a cleaner trim, giving your beard a sharper and more defined look. Ultimately, the choice between these guards depends on the specific style you desire and how it complements your face shape.

What does closed guard mean?

The closed guard, also known as the full guard, is a fundamental position in martial arts, particularly in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This guard involves wrapping the legs around the opponent’s body, effectively immobilizing them and limiting their movements. By locking their legs behind the opponent’s back, the individual in the closed guard gains control and creates opportunities to attack or transition to a more advantageous position. The closed guard serves as a defensive mechanism, restricting the opponent’s ability to stand up or break free from the hold, requiring them to find ways to open up the guard to escape or improve their position.

Does open or closed guard cut more?

When it comes to the length of the cut, the choice between open and closed guard depends on whether you prefer a shorter or longer hairstyle. The closed guard will give you a shorter cut, while the open guard will result in a slightly longer length. For instance, a closed clipper guard 1 will leave your hair at ⅛ of an inch, while an open clipper guard 1 will leave it at 3/16 of an inch. So, if you’re looking for a more trimmed and close-cut style, the closed guard is the way to go, whereas the open guard offers a slightly longer and looser look.

What cuts more hair open or closed guard?

The closed guard cuts more hair compared to the open guard. When the taper lever is closed, it positions the blade at its lowest cutting position, allowing for a closer and more precise cut. On the other hand, the open guard cuts less hair as the blade is positioned at its longest cutting position, resulting in a lighter and less aggressive trimming. This distinction emphasizes the importance of the taper lever in controlling the amount of hair that gets cut, as different positions can achieve varying hair lengths.


Reference source
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aql7kN2Mo0w
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guard_(grappling)#:~:text=Sometimes%20referred%20to%20as%20full,be%20able%20to%20improve%20positioning.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKxD5kdOkk0
https://bjjfanatics.com/blogs/news/open-guard-vs-closed-guard-bjj