Re-Focusing on Closed Guard

Another BJJ revelation the other day. Surprise surprise.

I really like Coach Frank’s teaching style and the cool stuff he shows us. But as I was struggling through my 6th or so inverted rotation from reverse de la riva, I realized (again) that this just wasn’t my thing. Don’t get me wrong–I’m really glad I get exposed to this type of stuff regularly, but I’m 45 years old and weight 190. That’s a fit version of me, and I’m not getting any younger. Any chance I had of being good at that stuff passed me by a long time ago.

But what if we were working on closed guard? That’s something I think I can sink my teeth into.

I’ve been really aware lately of how loose I am with techniques like the basic arm bar from closed guard. Even when drilling it and focusing on the details, there’s always some space where there shouldn’t be. I’m made more aware of this when I’m used as Coach Frank’s demonstration dummy and he puts his hands behind his head and says, “Go to get your arm out…see, he can’t.” He has everything so snug with his legs and his core that there just isn’t any space for me to move.

Anyway, it made me realize that I could go really deep into a focus on closed guard. Tightening it up. Setting up tons of submissions. Learning new sweeps. And then transitioning to it from other positions. Instead of people thinking about trying to break and pass my closed guard, I want them constantly defending submissions and avoiding sweeps.

Forget escaping, just try to survive.

Closed guard is something I think I could get really good at, you know, relative to my natural (dis)abilities and where I’m starting from. If you saw my legs you’d understand why. They are by far the strongest part of my body, but I feel like I don’t get to use them to their full advantage in BJJ. Well here’s my chance.

So I dove into some Grappler’s Guide concept reviews to start, and they made an absolute difference in the very next class. Focusing on things like pulling my opponent into me, using my whole body to control posture first, then setting up grips instead of focusing on using grips to control posture, etc.

Of course, I’m going to go down a bunch of rabbit holes with things like the tiny details of arm bars, triangle, kimuras, omoplatas, baratoplats, etc (so many submission options) and the plethora of sweeps I can start working.

So many ways I can use my legs to help me constantly threaten.

The cool thing is that Jason Scully posted to FB (perfect timing for me) that he’s putting together a closed guard curriculum for the Grappler’s Guide. I’ve looked at a couple of the other curricula already, and can’t wait for this one to be published. The nice thing about these guides is that they lay out material as “required” or “recommended”.

I’m going to spin up another Sprint on this when I get the chance to organize everything. I have a race coming up in about 10 days, so I’ve been semi-focused on running, but after that I’ll get back to stretch and strengthen stuff as it relates to BJJ. Hopefully.

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