There are a LOT of different guard styles out there:
»De la Riva
»Closed old school
»Z-guard / 93 guard
»Cross guard…and it goes on and on.
If you want to pass every different type of guard that you will be confronted with, do you need to learn several passes for each type of guard?!?
The amount of information that you need to learn in jiu-jitsu just dramatically increased! Yes, you DO need to learn specific passing techniques for specific guards. But as importantly understand that there are general principles that apply to ALL guard passing.
1) Break grips and put out the hooks
By breaking your opponent’s grips before passing you are eliminating the tools he needs to control you with his guard. What ever are the hooks and grips, pause your pass and break his grip.
Sometimes when passing, you need to stop, reset and then start again.
Don’t try to run around and pass when your opponent has secured the hooks that they need.
Identify what hooks and grips your opponent is using and negate them to pass effectively.
2) Change sides to confuse
I watched a tournament match once where a blue belt tried to use a knee cut pass to defeat the guard players ZGuard. For the ENTIRE 6 minutes of the match, the passer tried to pass to his left side and the guard player put up an effective defensive wall with his knee shield.
It was a stalemate.
I couldn’t help but thinking that if the passer suddenly switched tactics and changed to a complimentary pass to the opposite side, that he would force the guard player to abandon their defense and deal with a new pass. Each time a guard player must switch sides, they create a gap in their defense where the passer can exploit.
If the opponent has set up a wall of defense, change sides and force them to catch up with their defense.
* If you switch sides you will also force your opponent to fight from a side that they are not as comfortable, improving your effectiveness.
3) Strong posture and base
Following a match between Angusto ‘Tanquinho’ Mendes’ vs Eddie Cummings ( a leg lock master with a dangerous guard) where ‘Tanquinho’ avoided the heel hooks of Cummings and won the match, Ryan Hall tweeted:
“@tanquinhojj ‘s base and passing are a scathing indictment of the idea that leglocks are some kind of secret to beating elite grapplers.”
There were multiple factors at play, but Hall credits a strong base (and posture that accompanies base) as the success in passing and shutting down submissions. There are no hi light reels of proper posture and solid base -0 but it is absolutely important to your top game success in bjj.
I see a mistake many bjj players make in forgetting about proper posture and base while passing in their haste to pass.
Many guard attacks can be nullified by a solid base and proper posture.
Apply these principles to ALL of your passes!
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam