Why You SHOULD Stall in Closed Guard

I disagree. The opponent on top in closed guard is in a bad position. If the opponent on bottom has his legs locked around the waist and is not attacking, it is actually the bottom player who is stalling from his superior position. If the top player also stalls , that is a result of the bottom player stalling from his guard. If the bottom player tried to submit or sweep , then this would not even be an issue.

The closed guard player will sometimes express frustration that you are not opening up and attacking. But he is the one who pulled and closed guard and is doing nothing. The position was generally his idea, not yours, so why does he get away with doing nothing? Your instructor will also likely troll you, telling you to do some highly predictable guard open attempt that will likely get you scissor swept over into an even worse position. Ignore them all. If they are frustrated by your style, then stick with it. If you are frustrating your opponent, then you are winning.

Unfortunately, in BJJ, too much time is spent trying to get all the students to fight like robots. When you utilize strategy to win, people get mad if its not the same techniques/ strategy they would use to win. They also do not like it when you slow down the fight from bad positions.

I have many guard passes. I will usually try them to see if they feel like they will work or not. I do not fully commit to them if they do not feel effective I reset and stall. Often when I stall in closed guard people wrongly assume that I lack knowledge of guard passes. This is not the case. I am not only knowledgeable about many passes, but I am equally knowledgeable about how many attacks the closed guard dude can do from his superior position.

It should not be incumbent on the player with the inferior position to be expected to initiate the attack. Moreover the closed guard staller (the bottom guy) would get elbowed in the nuts and slammed on his head in a street-fight. Also in Judo and other grappling arts like wrestling you are not allowed to close guard and not then attack, because that IS considered stalling. I know my perspective is not popular , but it is true nevertheless. I am purple belt and have trained 10 years. If you try and pass the closed guard rather than stalling and waiting for them to open, your chances of getting submitted or swept increase dramatically.

If you were in WWI trench battle and had an inferior position to the enemy, and the enemy expected you to charge and was ready to counter – would you charge ahead and die? No. It would be smarter to set an ambush and wait for the enemy to engage. Then, once engaged rather than in a standoff, you can use the transition game to start surprising and attacking your opponent.

I still do try and pass the guard, and am often successful in passing rather quickly. I can show the unorthodox passes I tend to use in another post. However, there are times when nothing seems to be working to open their guard without leaving myself vulnerable. Many BJJ rollers seem to not understand the concept of risk management and unique strategy. If you have ever read the Art of War, Sun Tzu, would definitely not recommend that you do what your opponent expects or wants you to do.


Pros and Cons of Heel-hooks

Heel-hooks are a taboo subject in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and martial arts, mostly because they are considered to be dangerous. Following what I considered to be a somewhat ‘cheap’ tap-out in training recently, I thought I would take a look at some of the pros and cons of this controversial move. I personally have a bad feeling about the use of them in practice, but I respect my instructor’s view that they make people more well rounded fighters when practiced.


  • It works well on most body types, and is an effective way to get a submission.
  • If someone is not defending their ankle properly, attacking it will teach them to improve their defense, eventually making them a better fighter.
  • It is a good way for a smaller guy to tap a larger guy, and also is a way to end a match quickly if the opponent is hard to beat in terms of position.
  • Mastering the attack of heel hooks makes you a more well rounded fighter, as you add options to your arsenal.

The Cons:

  • Very dangerous in terms of blown meniscuses and torn ACL’s, and different than arm-bars in that there is often no pain until torn/popped.
  • Cannot be used in competition at most belt levels, (not til brown belt in most gi tournaments, or not until advanced in no go division).
  • With gi on, grapplers legs can get caught in fabric, blowing on or both men’s knees out due to getting tangled in cloth, despite having otherwise executed the escape properly. This is not a factor in no gi.
  • Focusing on leg locks sometimes is a way to cheat in terms of not improving one’s positioning, and going for a leg-lock instead. This can conversely be seen as a good thing though, from a lessor opponents perspective.

One thing is that rolling leg legs recklessly to the opposite (technically wrong side) is a bad thing in my view since it would mean most people in the sport could all have their knees, hips, and ankles blown all the time, which would hinder the practice of the sport. The heel-hook I was complaining about was kind of an inverted heel hook, which is kind of like a cross between a heel hook and a rolling leg lock, and I think its probably something that should at least be practiced with caution when in sparring, at a speed slow enough to allow a tap before major injury.