BJJ / Grappling tips: Guard passing

Guard passing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a vital skill. If you are struggling to pass the guard in this or any form of grappling, that's an area you need to work on (a clever way to say we all need to work on guard passing!)

From a conceptual point of view, passing the (closed) guard can be broken down into these major areas:

1. Base and Posture
2. Open the guard safely
3. Control the legs
4. Control the hips
5. Lock the upper body*
6. Pass over or under the leg

As you can see, the above are not specific techniques, but rather stages of the fight (and believe me it is a fight) to pass the guard. Within each, there are postures (ways to place your arms, legs, hips and even head) that afford us a number of pressures (both by you and by your opponent) which in turn present a whole range of possibilities of how to move on to the next stage of guard passing (e.g. from opening the guard to controlling the legs)

Every technique to pass the guard whether in BJJ or grappling is simply specific PPP within the above list of stages. I invite you to look at the passes you know (or even new ones that you learn) thru the lens of 3P:

1. Break it down into the different stages listed above
2. Within each stage, identify the posture, the pressures and the possibility**

Here is a nice example posted by YouTube BJJ sensation Mr Ken Primola, Division 1 wrestler and Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt under Relson Gracie thru Phil and Ricardo Migliarese.

I encourage you to visit Ken's YouTube channel and subscribing to his videos.

*Locking the upper body can sometimes come after passing over or under the leg (such as during a toreador or bullfighter pass.
**I say "possibility" but to be honest, nothing stops you from extrapolating and coming up with your own "possibilities" once you've understood and practiced the postures and pressures that lead to them.

Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

 ----Did You Like This Article?--- Click here to add The Part Time Grappler to your Favourites / Bookmarks


Jin@Combat Sports News said...

Ah. The concept sounds like something Matt Thornton teaches. Good tips.

The Part Time Grappler said...

Thank you for the kind words Jin. Yes Matt is the source and inspiration. Cane is one of Matt's black belts and his 3P teaching / learning model is the an awesome interpretation of what we learned at Language Teacher Training. But there, they called it the ARC, which stands for Authentic-Restricted-Controlled (degrees of freedom within the drill).

slideyfoot said...

I absolutely hate passing the guard, so as I plan to teach it next week, should prove to be an interesting lesson. ;)

Love Cane Prevost's blog, and his thoughts on posture in the guard were handy. As ever, on top of thinking what I normally try in sparring, I'll be researching as much as I can before Thursday (e.g., Beneville book, Xande/Saulo/Roy Dean DVDs, looking back through my training log, etc), so I can pull together a bunch of details which will hopefully prove useful.

The Part Time Grappler said...

Hmm. It's interesting what you say about hating passing, because if I remember correctly, you said you felt most at home teaching escapes (if I remember correctly). A long of things clicked for me when I flipped the way I looked at BJJ. To me, passing guard is very similar to escaping mount. The frames and the movement pattern is very similar, but upside down.

It'll be very interesting to see what you write about your sessions (from a teaching perspective)

slideyfoot said...

Yep, under side control is mostly where I live, hence why escaping from there is the first thing I taught.

I seem to recall a few people mentioning how you could look at various positions as if they were a variation on guard, to help people struggling with that position. I think I've seen it said of controlling back mount, and possibly of top mount as well.

I've not heard passing the guard referred to as a counterpart to escaping mount, though. Interesting: I'll try looking at it that way next time and see if it helps.

Preparing the guard passing lesson for this week, I didn't even get very far into the actual passing side of things: I kept coming up with more stuff I could say about posture, breaking grips, how to stand etc. Hopefully it proves helpful to the students. ;)

The Part Time Grappler said...

Can't wait to read about it :)