I am wondering what are the main techniques/principles to use in order to keep someone from passing your guard.

I.e. How to effectively control posture in closed guard to allow sweeps and subs?

But also, if you feel your closed guard is opening, how to switch effectively to another guard before your opponent has the chance to pass?

Note: I am currently working on butterfly and worm guard as my closed guard gets opened and passed very easily!

  • 1
    why worm guard? if you are having trouble with basic guards, this is probably something to leave till a bit later Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 4:47
  • This is really broad. There are a lot of different passes and guard-openers, and they require different approaches. Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 8:45

2 Answers 2


The most basic principle of keeping someone within your closed guard is to always keep your hips up. If your hips are on the ground, it is far easier for you opponent to open your guard. Having your hips up also allows you to drop your hips down and pull your knees toward your chest to break your opponent's posture (often combined with opening your opponent's elbows or breaking your opponent's grips).

This video contains one of the best explanations of how to prevent getting your guard passed. The video covers principles that can be applied to any open-guard situation. These are the main points:

  1. You are at an advantage if you open your guard, and your opponent is at an advantage if he opens your guard.
  2. Maintain four points of contact when playing open guard (explained in detail in the video)
  3. Use your feet, knees, hands, and body positioning to prevent passes and recover

BJJ is hierarchical. If you don't continually attempt to move through the hierarchy to the end of the process (submission) your guard will ultimately be opened (in the case of closed guard) and passed.

Give your opponent other priorities to deal with - for example sweep or submission attacks - and they won't be in a position to open or pass, they will be focussed on defending.

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