June 10, 2014

A Short History of the Closed Guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Our friends over at BJJ Heroes have shared a great article on the history of the closed guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  The closed guard is, in my humble opinion (echoed by some of the greats BTW) that without a solid closed guard you are lacking as a grappler.  Period.  Essential to maintaining range and controlling your opponents hip movement, the closed guard also serves as a solid attacking position with a plethora of sweeps, chokes, arm bars, shoulder locks, leg attacks... I mean really there is no limit to the attacks one can do from closed guard, unlike the mount for example. 

An excerpt from BJJ Heroes:
Peixotinho vs. Rickson (1984)
"The history of the closed guard ‘boom’ in Jiu Jitsu starts at Osvaldo Alves‘ class inside the Clube Olímpico (a clandestine casino, masked as a recreation centre in Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana). Master Osvaldo taught a class there using the term Jiu Jitsu, though in reality his Jiu Jitsu experience was limited. He was a Judo man, but as he needed to pay a license fee to teach it, he decided to call it a Jiu Jitsu class instead. Alves was known in the Brazilian grappling community, he had lived in Japan and had a close relationship with the Gracies, for those reasons many students from different teams regularly visited his academy, among the regulars were Otavio ‘Peixotinho’ and Márcio dos Santos (students of Carlson Gracie) who started the exchange of basic Judo and Gracie Jiu Jitsu closed guard techniques.

Quickly this tight-knit association started making a dent in the Jiu Jitsu competitive scene. Peixotinho submitted the technical Sylvio Behring with an armbar from the guard (see video below), a technique developed by the group. Pascoal Duarte did the same with Royce Gracie and Sergio Penha became one of the toughest competitors the sport had seen in just 3 years of training, a record breaking time in the sport."

To read the entire article click here... 

I have made the closed guard one of the strongest aspects of my game.  I'll be damned if I am THAT guy who is 6'4" 215 pounds and cannot play off his back.  I cannot tell you the great influences I have had... Brian J. Johnson / Tim Cartmell / Rigan - Carlos - Roger - Jean Jacques Machado (ALL of the Machado's place a heavy emphasis on closed guard) / Damian Maia / David Meyer etc. 

So check out this early video of Sylvio Behring being submitted by Peixotinho (peep the ref... some famous cat I can't remember the name of;), read about the history of the closed guard, and then hit the mat do brush up on that lazy guard game! 

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