In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), “breaking the guard” refers to opening or passing an opponent’s closed guard. This is a fundamental skill, as the closed guard is a very common position. Here’s a basic guide for several methods to break the guard:

1. Standing Guard Break

  1. Posture Up:
    • Start by establishing good posture: straight back, head up, and hands on your opponent’s torso to prevent them from pulling you down.
  2. Secure the Hips:
    • Place your hands on your opponent’s belt or hips. This helps to prevent them from following you as you stand up.
  3. Stand Up:
    • Starting with the leg on the same side as the arm that’s less vulnerable (e.g., if their right hand is holding your left collar, stand up with your right leg first), step up one leg at a time.
  4. Open the Guard:
    • Once standing, place one knee (usually the one on the inside) in your opponent’s tailbone. Push down on their knee with your hand on the same side, and shift your weight back to break open their legs.

2. Knee-In-The-Middle Guard Break

  1. Posture Up:
    • As always, start with good posture.
  2. Position Your Hands:
    • Place one hand on your opponent’s sternum and the other on the knee.
  3. Shift Your Weight:
    • Move your weight onto the hand that’s on their sternum, freeing your other hand to work.
  4. Insert Your Knee:
    • Place the knee of your “free hand side” into the middle of their tailbone.
  5. Push and Open:
    • Use your hand to push down on one of their legs while driving your knee backward to open the guard.

3. Elbow Guard Break

  1. Posture and Position:
    • Start with good posture, and position one hand on your opponent’s abdomen or hip bone.
  2. Apply Pressure with the Elbow:
    • Using the elbow of the same arm, apply downward pressure on the inside of your opponent’s thigh, near the knee.
  3. Shift and Open:
    • Combine this pressure with a slight shift of your weight and movement of your hips to pry open the guard.

4. Logsplitter Guard Break

  1. Posture Up:
    • Begin with a solid posture.
  2. Control the Hips:
    • Place both of your hands on your opponent’s hips or belt, pinning them to the ground.
  3. Get on Your Toes:
    • Come to your toes and drive your weight forward into their abdomen.
  4. Slide Your Knee:
    • Slide one knee up to their tailbone, splitting their legs like you’re splitting a log. Use your hands and arms to help wedge their legs apart.


  • Always Maintain Good Posture: Regardless of the method, always maintain a good posture in someone’s closed guard to prevent submissions and sweeps.
  • Avoid Placing Hands on the Mat: This exposes you to many attacks.
  • Stay Calm and Patient: Especially for beginners, it can be frustrating if you’re unable to break the guard quickly. Remember, BJJ is a game of patience and strategy.

As with all BJJ techniques, these guard breaks are best learned and practiced under the supervision of a qualified instructor. They can provide hands-on corrections, and partners can give feedback on the effectiveness of your techniques.