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Submissions from Closed, Open, and Half-Guard

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Closed Guard:

Armbar: Controlling an opponent's arm, secure their wrist and apply pressure on the elbow joint.

Arm Locks: Similar to armbars but with different applications. These techniques involve isolating the opponents arm and applying pressure at the elbow, more commonly with pressure from the practitioner's arms rather than the hips.

Kimura: Isolating the opponent's arm and applying a rotational lock on the shoulder.

Omoplata: Transitioning from a failed armbar attempt, you trap the opponent's arm using your legs and apply pressure to the shoulder joint.

Triangle Choke: Utilizing the legs to create a triangular configuration around the opponent's head and arm.

Gogoplata: A unique submission where the shin is used to compress the opponent's trachea.

Guillotine Choke: Involves wrapping your arm over and around the opponent's neck while in the guard and applying a guillotine choke.

Ezekiel Choke (Gi Only): Using the sleeve of your own gi, apply pressure to the opponent's trachea. A No Gi version may be able to be applied, but would be very difficult and unreliable from this position).

Cross Collar Choke (Gi Only): Gripping the opponent's collar with both hands, apply pressure to the neck.

Open Guard:

Open guard is a loaded topic that refers to many techniques such as spider guard, De La Riva, butterfly guard and more. This will be a topic that will be dove into deeper in future modules. What is important to note is that there are many options from open guard but the most notable options are Triangle Chokes, Collar and Sleeve Chokes (Gi Only), Armbars, Arm Locks, and Omoplatas. These positions are also great for sweeps which can lead to submissions or more dominant positions.

Half Guard (Bottom):

Kimura: While in half guard, isolate the opponent's arm and apply a kimura lock.

Additional Video: Follow Up When an Opponent Rolls

Bonus Video: Kimura trap to back take (the kimura is a great for control and transitions)

Reverse Kimura (Defense from Top Half-Guard): This is a neat option to reverse a kimura attempt from an opponent in bottom half-guard


It is important to note that having someone in your closed guard is the most advantageous for submissions. That said, you are not safe when inside someone elses closed guard, so it is important to know how to escape closed guard! We will cover this in more detail in future modules. Open guard is a great position to set up sweeps and submissions, but can also be a risky position to get passed and put into a dominant position or to get trapped in a leg lock. Half-guard is a more neutral position where both the top and bottom practitioner have opportunities to submit and pass; however, the top half-guard position is more advantageous. In conclusion closed guard, open guard, and half guard reflect the dynamic nature of ground fighting with many opportunities to end or progress the fight.

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