Open Guard Vs Closed Guard BJJ Explained

Closed guard vs open guard?! The closed guard and the open guard BJJ are among the basic positions in jiu-jitsu martial arts that any practitioner should learn.

Besides, these two guard types give the player some great tools from the bottom and the top game. Thus, the jiu jitsu player could sweep, submit, and control his opponent which allowed him to build a solid offensive and defensive grappling game.

In this article, we will discuss and put a face to face the BJJ open guard and the close guard. We will review the pros and cons of these two guards in competition and self-defense martial arts. Have fun!

Should I Play An Open Guard Or A Closed Guard in Jiu-Jitsu?

open guard bjj vs closed guard

The open guard BJJ and the closed guard will teach you several martial arts lessons, where you will learn a bunch of jiu-jitsu concepts like distance managing, control before submission…

So, from the white belt to the purple belts, you should play several kinds of BJJ guards before deciding which one goes with your body type, gameplay…

Jiu-Jitsu Closed Guard and Open Guard: What’s the Meaning of Each Guard?

Closed Guard BJJ Meaning

Full Guard In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The closed guard is one of the basic guards taught in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It’s largely used by BJJ beginners as by high-level competitors. It’s a tiny position that every beginner white belt should have.

Otherwise, the full or closed guard is a position where the practitioner’s legs are closed around the opponent’s waist (hips). Also, the practitioner should grip the sleeve, or the collar, etc.

Open Guard BJJ Meaning

jiu-jitsu guard beginners

The open guard is among the basic and more effective positions in BJJ martial arts. Where the jiu jitsu practitioner’s legs aren’t closed around the opponent’s waist.

Open Guard BJJ Vs Closed: What are the Pros of each guard?

Closed Guard Pros

  1. The closed guard is classified among the top offensive guards in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
  2. There is close distance with many connections within your opponent that give you tough control over your opponent.
  3. It gives the BJJ player more reach to several submissions and sweeps, including chokes (cross chokes …), shoulder locks (omoplata …), arm locks (armbars, wristlocks …), scissor sweeps, etc.
  4. The closed guard gives you more leverage when it comes to the opponent’s upper body submission that will be available by breaking the opponent’s posture.
  5. It is one of the hardest guards to pass in Jiu-Jitsu in both gi and no-gi.
  6. A white belt performs many closed guard techniques correctly in a short training period.

Open Guard Pros

  1. The open guard forces the BJJ player to be more creative, and till today there is unlimited creativity at the open guard. So, we see many new jiu-jitsu techniques and variations such as the lapel guard game, etc.
  2. It gives you unlimited game transitions. Therefore, you can transit to the Dela Riva guard, lasso guard, spider guard, X guard, and other Brazilian jiu-jitsu positions.
  3. It allows you to perform several sweeps and attacks effectively, including leg locks, triangles, armbars, omoplata, etc.
  4. In self-defense and MMA, the open guard is safer due to big distance from your opponent. So, you’re almost safe from striking reach.
  5. The open guard is largely used in gi and no-gi grappling at the advanced level.

BJJ Open Guard Vs Closed: What are the Cons of each guard?

Closed Guard Cons

bjj closed guard vs open guard
  1. In MMA, UFC, and self-defense, the closed guard can get you struck easily due to close striking distance. So, a lot of knockouts happen at the closed guard as well as at the open guard.
  2. Sometimes the bottom player uses the closed to block the game especially if he’s winning the match. And in this case, the jiu-jitsu becomes a boring game.

Open Guard Cons

  1. The BJJ open guard may be one of the easiest guards to pass when playing against an early white belt, blue belt, or even purple belt, depending on the variation. Besides, this is arguably true for the classical open guard with both feet on the opponent’s hips or one foot on the hips and the other yielded otherwise.
  2. At the jiu-jitsu open guard position, there is a lack of body connections contrary to the closed guard which has its connection that makes everything readily available.
  3. A white belt may get damped when playing the classic open guard due to the lack of control. So it takes more time to deal with it.


The open guard and the closed guard are among the basics and highly effective guards in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. As a BJJ practitioner, you should learn them both to be either for defense and offense.

The BJJ open guard vs closed guard, which is better?

The closed guard and the open guard offer you a lot of good transitions, sweeps, and submissions.

But, in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, nothing is 100% bulletproof, because every BJJ position, submission, or transition has its pros and cons.

Indeed, as an advanced BJJ student, you can easily switch from the open guard to the full guard or vice versa.

Speak your mind, what’s your favorite guard: the closed guard or the open guard?

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