BJJ / Grappling Tips: Open Guard Passing with tips from Stephan Kesting, David Onuma and Rico Vieira

Pass the open guard!

Dealing with the open guard in jiujitsu is a challenge, but it's also an inescapable challenge. Without a guard passing game, there is no jiujitsu.

In this first video, Stephan Kesting of share his 4 top tips to passing any guard. These tips are:

1. Grip fight, Grip fight, Grip fight.
2. Don't be a one trick pony
3. Be fast for mobility or heavy for pressure
4. Stabilize the pass

Stephan is a great jiujitsu communicator and his words and video really sum up his valuable grappling advice very well.

When I was training Karate back in 1999 at the Gothenburg Karate Academy, sensei Siamak (an amazing teacher and all round human being!) said something I will always hold close to my heart. He saw me working on attacks and defense from a heavy and super stable base / stance. He let me do that for a few months then said:

-"You know, you're getting quite good at the stability-oriented game"
-"Oh. Thank you sensei!"
-"Yeah. I think it's time you started doing something different. You see that lightweight black belt girl?"
-"Erm, yeah?"
-"I want you to study her movement pattern and her mobility-oriented game. I want you to become a heavyweight that moves like a lightweight"
-"But that would make no sense?"

and here's the kicker

-"I know! No one will expect it!"

Ever since, I've dedicated my martial arts training to learning both sides of the coin. I want to be able to exert my pressure and weight, but also know how to be super mobile and agile. I'm not there yet, but I study from the best.

Check out for example my friend and teacher Mr David 'Malandro' Onuma, founder of the Combined Fighting Systems Team "play" and drill guard passing with his student my friend Martyn Cahill (head coach at Fighting Fit Manchester). Professor Onuma is not only an amazing martial artist in half a dozen other disciplines besides BJJ, he's also an avid competitor on the IBJJF scene (multiple European champion and top 10 ranked for his age bracket!) and trust me when he wants to turn on the pressure, he feels like a house has fallen on you.

Balance. Diversity of approach. Versatility.

"This is how you get better. You drill, drill, drill!" Professor David Onuma.*

David's own teacher and the man who co-promoted him to black belt, the grappling wizard that is Ricardo Vieira, shows in the video below a ton of details relating to the mobility based guard passing system, some of which he attributes to his brother the legendary Leo Vieira. This video is courtesy of the fantastic resource I could literally watch this video over and over and there'd always be something new to learn. Rico is a fantastic teacher and his attention to drilling the details is very clear in both David's instruction and the whole CFS-BJJ team.

"It's necessary I confuse my opponent!" Professor Rico Vieira.

If you're a strong, stable player, investing in the mobility centered guard passing approach can do wonders for your game and vice versa. I learn from the best, do you?

*Here is an interview in two parts I did with David back in 2011. Part 1 & Part 2.



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