In your BJJ journey, you will be encountering hundreds of techniques. But if you ask any BJJ Player one of the hardest ones to master, it would probably have to be passing guard. Although passing guard might be one the most basic BJJ techniques you might learn, it is very difficult to master.
Learning to pass your opponent’s guard is probably the most important aspect you will learn in BJJ. Regardless of your belt level, learning how to properly execute a guard pass is crucial to improve your BJJ game.
BJJ is an extremely versatile sport; it continues to evolve daily – new sweeps, new submissions, and new guard positions are consistently evolving the game. If you aren’t able to pass your opponent’s guard, you’ll be in a world of trouble. In this guide, we take a look at three basic BJJ Techniques for passing your opponent’s guard.
The Basic Fundamentals for Passing Guard in BJJ
Before we get into it, its important to review the fundamentals. As you know, in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the main goal of the top player is to pass the guard, get into a dominant position, and get the submission. But before the latter two comes into play, you must pass your opponent’s guard!
When it comes down to passing guard, it can be simplified into four main categories: Around the Legs Guard Pass, Under the Legs Guard Pass, Over the Legs Guard Pass, and Between the Legs Guard Pass.
An Around the Legs Guard Pass is typically performed from the standing position, outside of your opponent’s closed guard. With this type of passing, you will need a great deal of explosiveness and agility to outmaneuver your opponent to pass both their legs.
An Under the Legs Guard Pass is a type of guard pass where you get underneath you opponent’s legs to pass the guard. This type of pass is typically performed from the kneeling position. Also known as a stacking pass, by isolating your opponent’s legs, you prevent your opponent’s leg movements.
Over the Legs Guard Pass is a guard pass that smashes your opponent’s legs down. By doing this pass, you pin their legs down, while you methodically climb up their body to finish the pass.
A Between the Legs Guard Pass is a guard passing technique in which you pass right through the middle of your opponent’s guard. You basically isolate a leg between your legs and slide through to pass the guard.
This is of course an oversimplification of the types of guard passing you could do. There are certainly a lot more than four guard passes out there, but they can be generalized and categorized as such. If you are just starting out, it’s crucial to try to learn each type of guard pass. Learning the basic fundamentals opens up several other guard passing techniques later on.
Basic Techniques for Passing Guard
When passing your opponent’s guard, you can do so from either the kneeling position or from the standing position.
If you somehow start from your opponent’s closed guard, you must first break free. Once you try your opponent’s guard open, you can either start your pass right away or stand up to start an open guard pass.
Here are some basic BJJ techniques for passing guard:
Toreando Guard Pass
The Toreando Guard Pass is an open guard pass in which you try to get around your opponent’s legs to get into a dominant position. Toreando, also known as the “Bull Fighter” pass, is a type of movement where you grab your opponent’s legs to try to get around them, much like a bull fighter trying to get around the bull’s horns.
For the Toreando, you need to be agile, being able to move side to side and be explosive with your movements to catch your opponent off guard.
To perform the pass, start from the standing position with your opponent’s legs in front of you. The most basic variation of the Toreando is to first grab hold of your opponent’s knees or pant legs. As you secure your grips, push the grips so that your opponent’s legs go towards their chest.
Once you lock the legs down, kick one of your legs back and explode forward to step across your other leg and around theirs. Your other leg then follows suit to get completely around your opponent. As you step around them, you quickly pull and twist your opponents legs off to the side to complete the pass.
There are several variations of the Toreando, but the goal is simply to get around your opponent’s legs. As this is the most common and basic passes you can learn, your opponents will be able to defend you quite easy. You need to be able to move side to side and explode at the given moment to pass! Here are some variations of the movement:
Knee Cut Pass
The Knee Cut Pass, or Knee Slice Pass as it’s sometime called, is one of the most fundamental passes that you will learn. It’s one of the most basic bjj techniques for passing guard. In this type of pass, you pass your opponent’s guard by going in between your opponent’s legs.
The great thing about this pass is that it can be set up either from a standing position or from a knelt down position right after breaking the closed guard. It can be done explosively or in a tight and slow methodical way.
Starting from the standing position in front of your opponent’s open guard, place one hand to grab your opponent’s lapel. Your other hand will grab the inside pant leg directly in front of it. Push the knee down to pin their leg on the mat and twist their body off to the side.
Cross your knee over the thigh that’s pinned down. Make sure not to let go of the arm grabbing onto the lapel – this will prevent the opponent to place their knee to shield you from passing.
Once you get your knee down on the pinned leg, place your head on the mat next to the opponent’s head, and secure the opponent’s elbow with your free hand.
To finish the pass, let go off the lapel, fish for the underhook with the that arm, and slide your knee across.
Double Under Guard Pass
A Double Under Pass is an under the legs guard pass in which you isolate both of your opponent’s legs by hooking them with your arms from underneath. This isolation negates any leg movements or hip momentum to keep you away.
The move is generally started from the kneeling position. The goal of the pass is to get underneath both of your opponent’s legs, high on the thighs and almost to their hips. Once you get to the position, interlock your hands together in a gable grip to maintain the position.
After locking your arms together and squeezing tightly, both your opponent’s legs will be sitting right on top of your shoulders.
Once you posture up, your opponent’s hips will be sitting right on top of your own thighs. This will kill all their hip mobility and they’ll have very wiggle room for escape.
To finish the pass, you can grab hold of the opponent’s cross collar with one hand and the same side hip or pants. Prop up to your feet, leaning and stacking your opponent to maintain heavy top pressure.
Start to rotate towards the same side hand you have the collar. Once you get to about perpendicular to your opponent’s body, simply dip your shoulder down, look up and away to get their leg off your neck to complete the pass.
Passing your opponent’s guard is easily the most important and basic BJJ techniques you will have to learn. Regardless if you are a beginner in the sport or a seasoned vet, you need some solid guard passing techniques.
The guard can often time be very frustrating to handle. With more and more versatile guard techniques popping up, it’s only getting more difficult to deal with!
If you want to be a true savage on the mats start learning the basic BJJ techniques for passing guard. It will definitely give you the competitive advantage as you smash and pass your opponent’s guard with ease!
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