A little background on the situation:

  • You can be in either sitting / butterfly or on your back in open guard
  • Opponent is on one knee, other one up
  • DLR, 1 Leg X-guard, full x-guard, hooking sweeps are out (this is arbitrary admittedly, but in my case this is due to a knee injury)

I've played with pulling half and then moving to closed but was wondering if there were any closed guard specialists that have any tips for forcing closed from this position that adhere to the points I listed above.

Thanks in advance!

  • 2
    just to clarify, you would like tips on how to get to closed guard when your opponent is in the combat base/ position?
    – Patricia
    Feb 21, 2012 at 14:18
  • Yep that's correct, please let me know how to edit my question or title if that was unclear in anyway :) Feb 22, 2012 at 2:54

3 Answers 3


Maintain 3 points of contact, i.e. head control, arm control and foot on the hip opposite of the leg that is up. Take your foot that is not on the hip and make sure your knee is touching their leg near the thigh, hook their ankle with your foot, pull them toward you to off balance them and kick their leg out (just like they are taking a stride while running, natural body movement). If they reset to combat base do it again and use it as a setup for other things.

  • +1 for technical detail, but I can't envision the "kick their leg out" part. Could you clarify or show a visual example? Mar 26, 2012 at 13:40

Assuming no-gi and they're starting with right knee down and left knee up.

Plant your left foot on his right hip, it makes it pretty hard for him to get rid of it or pass, and since your foot is on his hip it gives you something to push off of to swivel and get an angle. Your right leg should also be somewhere on his torso, but since it's going to move the specific location doesn't matter quite as much.

Grab his left ankle with your right hand, and pull. If he's smart he'll bring his knee down to prevent the sweep. This might not work if your partner knows sweeps aren't an option for you, but going against someone who knows your weaknesses is always a bigger challenge.

As he brings his knee down, get your right leg past his hip, so you've got one part of the closed guard in place. Get your back at least 45 degrees off the ground, but 90 degrees is better. Get your right arm either with an underhook controlling his back or an overhook controlling his arm (depending on what he's looking for).

Your left arm should be ready to deal with his right hand, in particularly in defending the cross face to flatten you out, but if he doesn't go for that you have some control options.

If he's not too experienced, his right knee will still be down, and you can easily complete the closed guard from here, particularly if you had to settle for the overhook instead of the underhook.

If you got the underhook though, instead of going for closed guard, try to climb up onto his back. More often than not this won't work, but when it does it's pretty awesome. When it doesn't work, he'll be actively going into your closed guard. Since that's your initial goal, that's fine anyway.

If he's a bit more experienced, when he brought his left leg down he lifted his right knee up, but you've still got your left foot firmly on his hip. Your course of action will again depend on whether you got the underhook or the overhook. If it's the underhook, again, try to climb onto his back.

If you got the overhook instead, swing your left leg around to go for a triangle. If you're good at the triangle you might just attempt to finish here, if you're not so good, you're just threatening it and expecting him to defend it. Since you've got the overhook, a smash pass isn't a good option for him, he'll likely just go for the solid sit up and both arms in defense. As he gets his right arm in, grab his elbow with your left hand and pull towards you. If you're good at armbars, here's a good opportunity to go for one. If not, you're preventing him from planting his forearm in your thigh.

If you've got difficulty with the swivel, put your right foot on his left hip to push around and square up while you put your left leg past to get closed guard.

If you're wearing gi, I'd assume he's got a solid grip inside both pant legs. In that case his icebreaker shin isn't as much of a problem as his grip is, and breaking that grip would be your priority. He's also quite likely going to be passing, so focusing on sweeping him as he passes, or shoving him through to go to your knees and take his back is more important than trying to reguard.

If he's grabbing your waistband, belt or lapels (I'm not sure why, it doesn't work very well) then the no-gi strategy I described above actually still works.


Let me start with a disclaimer, I am not a BJJ practitioner, and I don't like fighting from the ground. However, based on the descriptions about the different BJJ guards here you don't use the closed guard when someone has their front knee raised.

You might use the high guard instead. The problem is the raised knee. You can't get the legs around the opponent when there is something blocking the way. The high guard has you wrapping your legs around the torso.

Another option is to make it so that the opponent is no longer in the combat base position. One of the options I was taught for those times when I get knocked down and I need to fight my way back up is to use my feet to grapple the leg. Without any way to demonstrate it, I'll have to describe it:

  • Using the top of one foot, hook the opponent's heel and keep it fixed.
  • Using the heel of the other foot, strike the opponent's knee.
  • Completing the technique, you are pulling the bottom foot and pushing the top foot

Alternatively, you can hook the knee and kick the heel, but the opponent's weight is stronger in this variation. Since you're knee isn't great right now, that might not be the best. The technique I described will knock the opponent out of the combat base position. Since the opponent is kneeling, the strike to the knee should be at an angle and not straight on. If the opponent were standing the same technique could be used straight on, which would knock the opponent back.

The opponent will be off balance, and start falling toward you. Assuming you are quick enough, you can scoot in and get in your closed guard position.

  • Ok I get the principles of what you're saying, I can't physically close my guard around that knee that is up so move it out of the way or maneuver the person or myself until it is. I will try - Pulling on their collar to make them move forward and put the knee down - Kicking the knee out so they have to reset Thanks for that! Feb 28, 2012 at 23:14
  • Would the downvoter please explain what they did not like about the answer? Mar 26, 2012 at 14:29
  • I gave this -1 because I used to practice and teach this technique before starting judo and BJJ, and am convinced that it is neither appropriate to the question of combat base (the opponent would simply pass guard) nor effective in its own right (I've never seen it work outside of drilling). The high guard is better, but it's more of a preventative measure than a counter. Apr 17, 2012 at 16:22
  • Unrelated clarification: in the last paragraph, isn't the opponent falling away from you due to the knee push? Or does that sentence refer to the knee-hook/kick-heel variation? Apr 17, 2012 at 16:24
  • When I was writing it, I was envisioning the hook/kick happening laterally. In essence, the knee kicked to the outside instead of straight on. But yes, hooking the knee and kicking the ankle can work. The problem is the weight is on that foot, so it is harder to pull off. By kicking the knee out to the side, his base of support is pulled out from under him, causing the forward fall--potentially torward the side you kicked the knee to. Apr 17, 2012 at 17:55

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