Who is on top of who? If you look at this picture it seems obvious that Jake Shields has top position on Gordon Ryan. A deeper look at closed guard reveals that in fact, the bottom players are actually on top of other fellows hips and legs. The top player certainly has UPPER BODY top position, but as long as the top player remains on his knees, the bottom player has top position. This has tremendously important ramifications. It means that any sweep from this position will result not only in a reversal, but a reversal to MOUNT, since closed guard is simply an upside down mounted position. It also means that any submission you can apply from mount, can be applied from bottom closed guard. The major upper body submissions of Jiu Jitsu are NEUTRAL WITH REGARDS TOP OR BOTTOM POSITION – all they require is that your HIPS BE ABOVE YOUR OPPONENTS HIPS. As such closed guard is a potentially position for upper body submissions whilst your cannot even get started on upper body submissions until he gets his hips and legs out from under yours – a clear tactical advantage for the bottom player. In a grappling match (less so when is allowed), Never underestimate the power of top hip position – even when your has the more superficial upper body top position. Learning to value the remarkable power of top hip position from closed guard bottom is a big part of your journey to develop a bottom game in Jiu Jitsu.

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