In Jiu-Jitsu, there are four main grappling situations that practitioners often encounter, each with its own dynamics and strategic considerations:


This involves the practitioner sitting with one shin against the inside of the opponent's shin, creating a barrier. The practitioner often grips the opponent's leg or ankle with one hand. This position helps control distance and set up sweeps or transitions, such as Single Leg X Guard.

BJJ Positional Study: Shin-to-Shin & Single Leg X (Ashi Garami) – The Jiu  Jitsu Brotherhood

In this position, the practitioner sits on the mat with their back straight, using their feet to hook inside the opponent's thighs. The knees are bent and angled outward, creating a 'butterfly' shape with the legs. The practitioner's hands can grip the opponent's sleeves, wrists, or collar, ready to control their movements or initiate sweeps.

Passing Butterfly” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA


Level 1: Maintain Seated Guard (Keep Feet inside Knees, Head Pointed at the Top Player, hands on the inside of biceps or outside of their triceps)

Level 2: Make Top Player's Hands Post

Level 3: Connect to the Shoulder Line (Double Underhooks or Over Under)

Level 4: Upgrade Position (Sweep / Back / Legs)

Level 1: Get their hands posted to the ground or across their body

Level 2: Achieve Body Lock (hugging around their hips, underhooks)

Level 3: Pin the player to their back with a Body Lock



From a supine (on the back) position, the practitioner wraps one leg around the opponent's thigh (just above the knee) and hooks the ankle with their foot. The other leg is placed across the opponent's hips, with the foot hooking behind the opponent's far thigh. The practitioner's hands control the opponent's same-side leg, either at the ankle or knee. This guard is effective for off-balancing the opponent and setting up leg locks or sweeps.

Similar to the Single Leg X Guard, but both of the practitioner's legs are actively engaged. One leg is hooked around the opponent's thigh, and the other leg hooks behind the opponent's other thigh, forming an 'X' shape. The practitioner's arms control one of the opponent's legs. This position is excellent for sweeps and transitioning to other leg attacks.

Single Leg X and X-Guard” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

Here, the practitioner, lying on their back, hooks one foot on the inside of the opponent's lead leg, wrapping around the thigh and securing the ankle. The other leg can push against the opponent's other leg or hip. The practitioner uses their hands to control the opponent's wrists or legs. This guard is versatile for sweeps, back takes, and submissions.

No-Gi De La Riva” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

In this position, the practitioner, while on their back, hooks one foot around the outside of the opponent's lead leg, with the shin pressed against the inside of the opponent's thigh. The other leg can control the opponent's other leg or hip. Hand grips vary based on the desired technique but often involve wrist or leg control. This guard helps create off-balancing angles and set up sweeps.


Reverse De La Riva (RDLR)” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA


Level 1: Obtain and Maintain Connections (Hands/Feet)

Level 2: Achieve Inside Control (Both feet inside)

Level 3: Achieve Open Guard Entanglement (SLX / X)

Level 4: Destabilize Partner (Hands or Hips to Floor)

Level 1: Stay Standing

Level 2: Remove Connections (Hands/Feet)

Level 3: Advance to the Knee Line (One in One Out / Both Outside the Knees)

Level 4: Achieve Top Hip Control (Half Guard or Side Control)



Within these Grappling Situations, there are tasks to be accomplished to advance the match. The techniques you learn in class are manifestations of efficient ways to accomplish the task. For example, our goal in Guard Passing is to ‘access the Hip Line’. One efficient technique to do so is the ‘Knee Slice Pass’.


In the closed guard, the bottom student wraps their legs around the opponent's torso, creating a closed circuit. This position enables control over the opponent's posture and hips, limiting their movement and ability to apply pressure. It is a launching pad for attacks like chokes, arm locks, and sweeps. The closed guard is essential for understanding the principles of breaking down an opponent's defenses and setting up intricate attacks.

Understanding Closed Guard with Gordon Ryan – BJJ Fanatics

Closed Guard Variants:

  • Side Scissor
  • Clamp Guard
  • Rubber Guard
  • Top Lock
  • Trapped Triangle

This variation involves the practitioner turning to one side while maintaining the closed guard. This consists of having the person's arm across their body while you clamp onto their back with your outside hand so both arms are on one side of the body. This position sets up a multitude of sweeps and submissions.

Side Scissor: Taking the Back & Juji from Closed Guard (No Gi  BJJ/Grappling) - YouTube

Here, the practitioner, from a closed guard, shifts their hips to one side and clamps one leg down over the opponent's back, pinning one of the opponent's arms. The other leg remains wrapped around the opponent's waist. This position is excellent for controlling opponents and setting up arm locks or chokes.

Overhook Closed Guard” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

In this position, the practitioner uses their flexibility to bring one leg up high around the opponent's back, often grabbing their own foot or ankle to maintain control. This isolates the opponent's arm and can limit their posture and movement, setting up potential submissions like triangles or omoplatas.

rubber guard | Bjj Eastern Europe

The practitioner sets up this position by trapping one of the opponent's arms and their head between their thighs, resembling the start of a triangle choke. This position can control the opponent and leads directly into a triangle choke.

Master The Triangle Choke With This Simple Tip – BJJ Fanatics

From a closed guard, the practitioner shifts their hips to isolate one of the opponent’s arms, clamping their thighs around it. This position is a precursor to various arm locks, including the armbar.

Armbar From Top Lock Position by Giancarlo Bodoni - YouTube


Level 1: Get Elbows Away or Across Their Body

Level 2: Connect to the Shoulder Line (Overhooks/Underhooks)

Level 3: Upgrade Your Position To Pinning Position or Submission Position

Level 1: Seek Inside Upper Body Control (Hands on their Biceps/Elbows, no control over your head)

Level 2: Posture to Standing / Hands Off Partner

Level 3: Unlock Closed Guard



Below are Drills you can work on in Open Mat and focus on in our Drills Class that will help enhance each Situation you will find yourself in.


In this position, the top practitioner uses pressure and weight to 'smash' down on the bottom practitioner, who has one of the top's legs trapped in half guard. The top player works to flatten and control the bottom player, setting up passes or submissions.

The bottom practitioner extends their legs and entwines them around the opponent’s leg, effectively 'locking' it down. This can be used to prevent the opponent from passing the guard and sets up sweeps or transitions to other positions.

Lockdown Half Guard Fundamental Sweeps | Ball exercises, Jiu jitsu, Guard

A combination of half guard and butterfly guard, the bottom practitioner uses one leg to hook inside the opponent's thigh (like in butterfly guard), while the other leg traps the opponent’s other leg in a half guard. This position is useful for sweeps and maintaining control.

Half Butterfly” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

The bottom practitioner slides under the opponent, lifting them slightly and positioning themselves so that they are almost underneath the opponent. This allows for a variety of sweeps and can disrupt the opponent’s balance.

Robert Cyborg Abreau - Half Guard to Deep Half to Back to Armbar | BJJ Tips

Also known as the knee shield, this position involves the bottom practitioner placing a shin across the opponent’s waist, with the knee pointing upward, creating a 'Z' shape with their legs. This can be used to manage distance and set up sweeps or submissions.

Half Guard” by Lachlan Giles • SUBMETA

1/4 Guard is when you have connection with only their shin as they are looking to complete a Guard Pass, but they are not covering your hips.


Half Guard and Quarter Guard - YouTube


Level 1: Free Yourself from Underhooks / Connect to their Shoulder Line

Level 2: Bring your feet back inside their knees

Level 3: Upgrade Position with Sweep or Back Take

Level 1: Achieve Underhooks

Level 2: Underhooks, Free Your Trapped Knee (Go to ¼ Guard or ¾ Mount (using Free Leg to free the Trapped Leg)

Level 3: Achieve Side Control or Mount