GB Technique: 3 Guard Passing Principles

This week on GB Technique we are going to look at the principles behind some of the guard passes that you learn in class at your Gracie Barra school. We need to learn to look at techniques in jiu-jitsu not only in terms of the mechanics (my left hand grabs the sleeve and my right hand controls the pants…) but also more deeply in terms of the principles of jiu-jitsu underlying the execution of the technique.
Let’s take a look at some principles in action in passing the guard.
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Grip Breaking and Posture
Knee cut pass with Prof. Rodrigo Fajardo
What is the very first thing that Prof. Rodrigo does before beginning his Knee Slice guard pass? He breaks the opponent’s collar grip and regains a strong posture. No matter what style of guard your opponent is playing, as the passer you need to deal with their control grips and start passing from a strong posture or else your opponent can control you and look to sweep or submit.
Control the hips
Prof. Marcio Feitosa teaches how to pass the Sitting up / Butterfly guard
Pay attention to how Prof. Marcio repeatedly puts the guard player flat and pressures the hips. Grabbing the belt and pinching his opponent’s thighs between his elbows and knees, Prof. Marcio effectively kills the movement of the guard player’s hips. Most guard passing depends on control of the opponent’s hips.
Prof. Marcio uses forward pressure to control the hips and then methodically pass the guard.
Prof. Joe Scarola of GB Jupiter
In this short video, count how many times Prof. Joe changes the direction that he is passing. Instead of trying to pass directly into the opponent’s defense, he switches sides and forces the opponent to react. After changing directions twice, Prof. Joe gets ahead of the guard player and is able to pass to his opponent’s back where they have little ability to defend the pass.
How can you apply these principles of guard passing to your own favorite guard passes?
See also on GB Technique: Head and Arm Choke: Attack and Escape
Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt