Countering the Counter to Your Over Under Pass
The Over Under Pass is easily one of the most efficient and versatile guard passes falling under the pressure passing umbrella. Pressure passing is also one of the most efficient and versatile styles of guard passing for grapplers of all levels and ages. Effectively passing the guard maximizing one's pressure from the knees can shut down the most athletic guard games you can encounter. Pressure passing works against closed guard, half guard, butterfly guard, spider guard, De La Riva, etc. There really isn't a guard that can stop it completely.
The Over Under Pass specifically and pressure passing in general allows the guard passer to slow down the action and reaction of their opponent, especially when the Gi is involved. Once the opponent's leg is pinned between your thighs and your arm is draped over and around that same thigh, their hips are nearly immobilized. Once the under hook on the opposing thigh is secured sealed with a handy grip on the belt, it is certain that they are not going anywhere any time fast.
The final piece of the initial set up involves putting your ear on the far side of their diaphragm which positions your shoulders to drive your bodyweight into them. This is far from the most pleasant place for your opponent to find themselves in. You can rest assured that they will be working very hard trying to free those hips and get that pressure off of them.
One of the most common attempts to counter will be for them to try to push your head from the far side, across their center line and to the other side in order to stop your pressure. They will use their hand or hands to shift your head to the other side. If you are not careful and ready to make a quick adjustment, your Over Under Pass will be done before it even gets started.
In a worst case scenario, if they are able to direct your head to the opposite side that you need it to be and sit up to secure your belt, they may be able to sweep you over and achieve a dominant position. In a matter of moments, you went from having one of the most dominant guard passes underway, to be tipped over and swept. This would be extremely frustrating to say the least.
In the video below, Bernardo Faria, the five time world champion and master of the Over Under Pass details an ultra simple, easy to remember and implement counter to this common Over Under counter. This will help protect you from those frustrating sweep attempts and reversals that will put your opponent ahead of you. Check it out below.
The key for your opponent to be able to secure this diversion of your head is to catch you in transition. If you are already tightly locked down with your head against the far side of their body, there is little chance they are going to be able to implement the proper leverage to pry your head away from their body and direct you to the other side.
But what if you are slow to secure the position and they are able to put their hands on your head before you get there? Bernardo offers an ultra simple adjustment that will solve this problem. Intuitively we may think that our body could fight through the arms, but in reality, there is a great deal of weight and pressure that those stiff arms could put in front of you as an obstacle. For Bernardo, simply backing up slightly and cutting a tighter angle will allow you to divert past the arms and secure the position.
This principle or concept of backing off to create the necessary space and allow you to readjust your angles is something that is usually hard won with a lot of repetition. The next time you find yourself in a position where driving straight forward seems to be getting you nowhere fast, maybe that's because the pressure you are giving them is actually helping them achieve their goals. Backing off and redirecting our energy can sometimes be a more efficient solution.
In the case of this common counter to the Over Under Pass, backing off and cutting a better angle is the key to making sure that you secure the technique and secure the pass.
If you want to learn more about how Bernardo Faria has essentially eliminated the vast majority of guard player's games from stopping his Over Under Pass, you will want to check out "Battle Tested Pressure Passing" available in 4 volumes chock full of techniques and game plan analysis on DVD or On Demand formats.