The Guard position is one of the most attacking positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. There are loads of different guard systems and variations of each one but the main ones include the Closed, Open, Spider, Half, Butterfly and de la Riva guard just to name a few. Below we break down the top 7 Guards.
The closed guard is probably the most used guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. it’s also the style of position that’s most often taught to beginners but it is also used at the highest levels in BJJ competitions in the GI and No-Gi. It involves locking your legs around your opponent leaving your hands free to control them and to setup submissions or for setting up sweeps to improve your position. The closed guard can also be used for getting your breath back if you’re tired. You can make this easier for yourself by breaking your opponents posture. You can do this by controlling your opponents head with one of your arms and controlling one of his arms with your other arm.
The Rubber Guard was named and made popular by Eddie Bravo but it was also used by Nino Schembri although Eddie bravo is normally credited with its conception. It is a method of keeping your opponent’s posture broken by locking your legs and feet into a very high position around his neck. There are loads of various submissions that can be setup from the rubber guard position including the Gogoplata and the Omapolata. The rubber guard can be a very effective guard but you need to be very flexible to use it.
The half guard is when you’re on the bottom of your opponent and you have only one of his legs trapped between your own legs. The half guard used to be an unfavoured position due to being on the bottom of your opponent but it has evolved considerably in the last 10 years or so with numerous sweeps, escapes and back takes from this position. There are also other variations of the half guard including deep half guard and the Z guard.
The X Guard is a very popular attacking position that was made popular by Marcelo Garcia. The position for the X-Guard involves being underneath your opponent between both of his legs with his leg on your shoulder and using your legs to stretch his legs apart. This position gives you the opportunity to destabilize; sweep and leg lock the person you’re fighting. There are also several other leg position variations for this position.
De la Riva Guard
The De la Riva Guard is named after Ricardo De La Riva a famous fighter and instructor from Brazil. This guard is best suited to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with the Gi. You wrap one of your legs around the outside of your opponent’s front leg and your other foot can be placed on his other knee or hip. From this position you then control one or both of his sleeves. There is loads of sweeps from this position and also some nice transitions.
The Spider Guard is a position mostly used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when wearing a Gi. In this guard you grip both off your opponent’s sleeves and place one of your feet on one of his biceps and your other foot on his other bicep,his hip or wrapping your leg round his arm. The spider guard is a very attacking guard that enables you to off balance, sweep or submit the person your fighting.
The butterfly guard is a very versatile position. It allows you to set up sweeps and also to move between other guards including Half Guard and the X-Guard. With the butterfly guard you want to be in an upright position with both feet inside your partners knees. From this position you can use your legs to control and to sweep him.
Ultimately the type of guard that you choose to utilize will depend on many things, including your physique, flexibility and your instructor.