When you are starting jiu-jitsu passing the guard can be a frustrating experience. Getting trapped inside your opponent’s closed guard and fending off a constant stream of sweeps and submissions is fatiguing and frustrating.
In the time before a bjj student has learned a few solid guard passes, there are several common mistakes that they make when inside the opponent’s guard.
Here are 4 Beginner Guard Passing Mistakes
1) Trying to submit within the guard
When they are frustrated with trying to pass the guard, they decide to change strategy and try to submit the opponent from inside the opponent’s guard.
I see some students try to cross collar choke their opponent – unwittingly offering up their own arms for an easy arm lock. Effective submissions from inside the guard are very limited and difficult to pull off.
The better strategy is to pass and attempt to submit from a side control or mount position.
2) Leaving one arm inside
Trying to pass and inserting only 1 arm inside the opponent’s legs to pass is a classic guard passing mistake.
Usually this happens when the passer is digging 1 arm inside for a stack pass. This is giving your opponent an easy opportunity for a triangle choke!
There is a basic rule when inside your opponent’s guard to avoid the triangle :
Both arms IN or both arms OUT
3) Pressuring forward
Once again, frustrated with their inability to pass, the beginner tries to squeeze the opponent’s head and pressure forward.
Unfortunately, this position does little and results in stalling at best.
Any experienced bjj guy can easily deal with the forward pressure and most often sweeps with a butterfly hook.
Again, work on your best guard passes before you try this unproductive strategy.
4) Forgetting your base and posture
Before you look to break the closed guard and try one of your passes, you must be aware of your base and posture.
Without these 2 important elements, it is likely your opponent will be able to break your posture down and attack you.
Or if your base is not solid, you can easily be swept to the bottom position.
Base and posture are your first priorities, then look to pass.
Drill your best guard passes and check out the article below to get some more tips on passing the guard.
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Saigon, Vietnam