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Defending the Over Under Pass

Defending the Over Under Pass


The over under pass is one of the most used techniques in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to pass open guard. The reason this guard pass is so popular is because it is extremely effective. Although this pass is a favorite for many bigger, heavier grapplers that can exert a lot of downward force, it can be used effectively by grapplers of any size.

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The bio mechanical characteristic of the over under pass that make it effective is the control it provides the guard passer over the defender’s hips. Without the necessary hip mobility, the guard player is unable to repummel their legs back to retain guard. As a consequence of this, defending the over under pass can be extraordinarily difficult, especially against a heavy opponent.

In order to defend against this guard pass effectively, we need to attack the main part of the defender’s body that is giving them the balance they need to apply pressure, their head. By moving the guard passer’s head to the opposite side, we can destabilize the defender and make the guard pass obsolete.

Romulo Barral is a well known and well accomplished BJJ Black Belt. He is most known for his great open guard, so it would be obvious to take some advice from about how to defend one of the most common guard passes. In the following video, Romulo illustrates how to appropriately defend the over under pass, see below:

The over under pass works only when the guard passer places their head across their opponent. This gives them the angle to apply a lot of downward pressure to the torso with their shoulder, but also gives them balance since they have to stay up on their toes. This means that when you push the head over, you are eliminating the pressure while also making it difficult for the top player to remain balanced.

Pushing the head over clearly is not enough though, and more most be done. After pushing the head over, you will want to sit up and use your elbow to keep your opponent down. Lots of things can happen from here. Romulo illustrates how you can just go back to open guard after the top player pulls their head out. You can also hip escape to the side to go into half guard.

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