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Dismantle the Open Guard with Lachlan Giles, Craig Jones, and Gordon Ryan
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Dismantle the Open Guard with Lachlan Giles, Craig Jones, and Gordon Ryan

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An answer for the seated guard could come in many forms. Whether you choose to pass standing or kneeling, the options are many. We do have to be careful with how we approach the position though. A good seated or open guard can have us in a tangle very quickly if were lackadaisical about how we begin to engage our opponent’s guard. Shin to shin is incredibly popular here and if we allow that connection to take place, we could be in for a rough go as we begin trying to pass. 

With any form of guard passing there are steps we need to take to manage our partners options and create a successful passing path for ourselves. Let’s take a look at a couple of passing options for beginning in a disconnected scenario.

 In this video Lachlan Giles demonstrates how to employ a body lock style pass against t the seat guard. Let’s take a look at how chooses to cover all his abuses and break down the seated guard. Check it out!

Giles likens the entry to the position to a double leg take down. He opts for a pretty aggressive approach to begin passing. Looking to hand a fight a bit and gain the inside track, Giles begins by swimming his hands to the inside of his partners hands, followed by aggressive forward motion very much in the style of a penetration step. Giles is essentially looking to force a butterfly guard scenario. 

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Touching on a very important passing principal, Giles advises us to keep our head lower than our partner’s head, filling up the space we need to begin putting pressure on the guard player and keeping ourselves in good position. 

As Giles enters, he’s careful not to allow his body to get too extended. He reaches deep with his right hand around the body and stays shallow with the left to deal with knee. Becoming to stretched out here will land us back inside the closed guard, at which point this passing attempt will be over. Giles keeps good connection with the knee as he continues to work deeper in to the position and secure his grip to lock the body. Take your time here to adjust and acquire your grip, but don’t lose the connection to that leg that will cause us trouble.

Now that Giles has entered the perfect position for passing, we can enjoy a montage of different options to complete the pass. Can’t wait for more of this!

I like this approach. Giles gets right down to business here, which I think may be the downfall for most of us. The more we allow our partner to make decisions about how they’re going to get connected to us, the more trouble we may find ourselves in. 

Moving on to our next technique, Craig Jones gives us a look at the TJ pass. Here, Jones shows us an entry to get connected and pass the open guard using the threat of a leg lock. Check this out! 

Jones first demonstrates exactly how he acquired the leg lock against Tex Johnson. When Jones first began to enter Johnsons guard, he stepped his lead foot to the opposite side of the hips, planting it on the underside of Johnson’s butt. From here, Jones could have sat to an ashi garami style leg entanglement. With his opponent’s concern on that primary leg, the opposite leg was left hanging in the breeze. Jones lifted his hips and reached under to the backside, securing the opposite leg and entering in to a saddle type situation, where he easily snagged a devastating inside heel hook. This was one of my favorite submissions of the year. It was so seamless and clean. Truly a brilliant attack. 

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Entering exactly the same way, Jones again uses the fear of the leg lock to set up the pass. This time his partner is drawing his knee on the opposite side upward, taking away the possibility of the leg attack. But now Jones is able to reach under the leg and settle in to a very uncomfortable position for his partner. With this under hook and the pressure being applied to the leg, Jones can stretch the groin and create a very high percentage passing scenario. Pay close attention to the switching of the hands as Jones transitions from straight ankle style controls to the passing configuration. The hand controlling the knee acquires the under hook of the leg and the hand that’s wrapping the ankle begins to push the knee down.

As he pushes the knee down, he hooks under the leg with his right instep and begins to let his knee travel over the top of the leg, as his outside leg steps over the lower portion of the leg. He then acquires a cross face and uses his knee to slide his partners hips out of the way, completing the pass.

Using the fear of the leg lock as a means of passing is something that Jones does incredibly well. There’s plenty of reasons for Jones’s opponents to fear the leg lock, as he possesses one of the most vicious leg games in the sport of BJJ. This mode of thinking can help us add another layer to our guard passing attempts and bring us more success! Great stuff!

Let’s finish up with some tips from Gordon Ryan. Ryan has a very systemized and beautifully thought out approach to guard passing that he breaks up in to three different passing concepts. Within Ryan’s system there is loose passing, tight passing, and passes using submissions. Using these three principles in combination Ryan creates the ultimate passing system. Have a look!

I wanted to focus here on the loose floating style of entering a passing position. As Ryan engages the guard player, he steps up the middle. Any proficient bottom player will instantly connect to the body and begin trying to play the guard, which is exactly what happens here. As his partner secures his ankle and begins to engage, Ryan puts his hands to the floor and beings to float above his partner. 

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Here, he begins to pommel his feet to the inside, beating his partners legs and achieving a tighter position, which is the main goal of any passing scenario. If his partner tries to keep Ryan at bay by pushing his knee and attempting to move the hips, Ryan makes an easy transition to the half guard, where he is now chest to chest and past the knee shield. This hovering style of passing is a pretty unique concept and it’s a great answer to an open or seated style guard. As Ryan explains many of us are taught to have heavy hips and pommel for position with the hands. Ryan completely flips the script with his hovering style passing, putting his weight in his hands and using his legs to pommel for position. Depending on the reactions of the bottom player, Ryan can enter into different sequences of peeling to fit the scenario. There are some great concepts at play here. Yet another great set of skills to add to the passing tool box!

So, we’ve looked at three different ideas here. We started with a very aggressive tight style of entering to pass. We also saw how to enter in to a pass using the fear of a leg lock. And finally putting the weight in the hands and out pommeling with the legs to begin passing. Amazing technique from three of the world’s best! Keep these ideas in mind the next time you begin to approach a seated or lying opponent. Good luck! 

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Systematic is more than just a buzzword when talking about Gordon Ryan's Guard Passing. Gordon Ryan breaks down guard passing to microscopic details that have never been explained on film before. Systematically Attacking The Guard By Gordon Ryan is widely regarded as one of the best guard passing instructionals, and will SURELY increase your GUARD PASSING!

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