Closed Guard Opening Legs From Knees

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  1. John W November 21, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    Henry, are you also engaging your hips at the same time you are taking the slack out of his legs with your forearm?

    • Henry A November 21, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      Yes, of course. When you engage your hips your partner will notice tension build up in the ankles so the pressure with the forearm is additional tension that will help the legs to break. Plus you always want to keep hips engaged when sitting in the guard to prevent them from pulling you down

  2. Michael M December 7, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Henry, like many others have said, you’re blowing my mind with these details. I’ve already watched a bunch of the other courses you offer here and I love your ability to express ideas using the language of biomechanics ex. your mention of pelvic tilt, taking slack out of joints, etc. You might already be familiar with Dr. Kelly Starrett from MobilityWOD. I think viewers would REALLY benefit from some sort of collaboration between the two of you. He routinely explains using external rotation to take the slack out of your joints for the purpose of creating additional torque and stability. He works out of San Francisco so not too far from you.

    Taking the idea of getting slack out of a joint, I think I made a relevant connection when playing around with a kimura or americana from cross-side. I would like to see what you think and how it could possibly apply to breaking guard as well (or any other areas you would like to discuss).

    With the help of my instructor, I realized that when I have a Kimura from cross-side, if I rotate my hand on their wrist like a motorcycle throttle it “takes the slack out” thus requiring me to lift their elbow less to get the submission. Thinking through the biechanics of this, what i think is happening is that I’m externally rotating their forearm with the motorcyle throttle motion while at the same time im internally rotating their shoulder when i lift their elbow off the ground. This detail seems to get the slack out of their shoulder joint very quickly thus requiring me to lift their elbow ever so slightly to get that last bit of slack out for the submission. For an Americana, the opposite seems true in the sense that the forearm is rotated internally while the shoulder joint is rotated externally. What are your thoughts? Based on this idea, is there anything else you can add to the idea of taking slack out of the hip joint to break the guard?

    Side note, keep the courses comin! At this point, I will basically buy anything you put on this site!

    • Henry A December 9, 2016 at 12:11 am

      Hey Michael, yes, curling your wrist not only increases the tension but also improves the strength of your grips. As you know one of the common escapes for the Americana and the Kimura is to straighten the arm, so by curling both wrists you get a stronger grip and also it increases the leverage so you do not need to apply as much force when you go to finish. If you watch how a gymnast grip the rings you notice they curl the wrists to wrap the hand all the way around so it’s not just the fingers grabbing but the whole hand.

  3. Keegan Y May 9, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    This has become my favorite way to open the Closed Guard. So efficient, very few liabilities that I have found, and nearly effortless once you get the technique down!

    Thanks again!

  4. Yongchuan P October 16, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Hi Professor Akins, I tried this technique to varying degrees of success so wanted to ask a couple of questions. Thanks for any advice!
    1) Is this harder to execute against opponents with longer legs? I tried it against a tall white belt but struggled to open him while I had more luck with shorter color belts. Maybe the tall guy is just stronger/the color belts are more willing to open guard. Curious what you think and if you had strategies to counter long-limbed opponents.
    2) Maintaining good posture (while breaking guard) is a struggle when the opponent is annoying you by grabbing your hands/collar/head, etc. Do you have any tips on how to deal with this? Should we drill with opponent going at you with less than 100% and gradually work our way up ?

    Thanks much!!!

    • Henry A October 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      Hi! Yes longer legs means more slack, so you will need to get all the slack out of the legs, you should feel tension build up in their ankles. I can add tension by rounding my back into the ankles.

      yes anytime you are learning you never go from practice to 100%… No other sport in the world do they train like that. The progression needs to be gradual for you to be able to get to 100%. So Start at 30-40% then go up about 10% at a time, if its too much then go back down till you have success again.

  5. mike b December 16, 2017 at 9:03 am

    wouldn’t the exaggerated j-posture (hunchback) be enough to take up the slack before engaging the elbow? I’ve always used the j-posture after discovering it as a blue belt 5-6 years back and exaggerating the posture (rounding out my back like a cat or a hunchback) would normally take out the slack and 50-70% of the time break the ankles open before i even engage d the elbow.. i’ll try to engage my hips today while rolling and see the difference. I guess I’m just thinking out loud while reviewing the video. iI already assume engaging my hips will allow me to transfer more downward pressure to his leg, transitioning to the overpass bit quicker than my current approach. anyways great video

  6. gohar s January 14, 2018 at 11:26 am

    What are rules on posture at the moment of pinning their knee on the floor after their guard has opened?

  7. Benjamin P June 27, 2020 at 2:24 am

    Hi Henry,
    To be efficient do you recommend to be on your toe while doing this or staying on your feet flat on the ground?
    Thanks for all the blow minded content !

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