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Emergency Measures with John Danaher

Emergency Measures with John Danaher



10 years ago, it wasn’t  likely that you’d run into a wide variety of guards in your training stints on the mat. Closed guard, half guard, maybe a little bit of open or butterfly guard was common. But jiu-jitsu has evolved a great deal, especially where guard configurations are concerned. Nowadays we have plenty to worry about. Especially in the gi, where the innovations have been staggering and the multitude of attacking platforms have increased exponentially over the last decade. 

With the evolution of guards like the De La Riva, lasso, ashi garami, spider guard, and much more, the level of danger to the guard passer has gone through the roof. We have to be even more vigilant than ever and our knowledge of all of these different guards has to be vast, so that we don't get taken by surprise in our training sessions and competition endeavors. 

John Danaher’s comprehensive guide to guard passing, Passing the Guard, in his Go Further Faster series is now available at the BJJ Fanatics Online Store and It provides detailed blueprints to pass all of these modern guards with an approach that's simple and easily digestible for the BJJ beginner. The seasoned vets will also find value here as Danaher sheds important light and reveals critical details that you may find were missing from your passing toolbox.

As one of the most important skill sets in all of BJJ, guard passing measures must be high on the list of skill acquisition for anyone that's serious about their training. What's great about this instructional is that Dnaher provides guidance on the most common scenarios that we face and provides the best information available on all of the most high percentage passes. This helps us narrow our focus and efforts on the most critical areas of passing. This instruction is a must have if you wish to build and add critical infrastructure to your guard passing game. 

So, back to these pesky outlandish forms of guard. There will of course be times where you're caught off guard by one of these attacking platforms with a proficient guard player at the helm. In these instances we can feel almost as if our doom is imminent. But fear not, Dnaaher has prepared some emergency measures that you need to see. Everyone needs to have an escape plan for when things begin to go awry. These ideas will help you backpedal your way out of a bad situation, so that you can live to fight another day. Take a look! 


Beginning with sage advice on navigating the guard exchange, Danaher advises us to never put ourselves into a position where we are fighting the legs with only our hands. This is a very important principle to keep in mind in your approach to passing the guard. This is a lopsided effort, and a battle that we simply will not win. Instead Danaher recommends diversion and leg vs leg responses. 

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In an example of diversion using the spider guard, Danaher demonstrates that he's not looking to engage further into the clutches of the guard, but rather uses a backward motion and his legs to divert his training partner’s efforts. Passing the guard should always be first on the list. If we can find a way to keep the top position we must. But remember, legs vs. legs.

If you find yourself in a bit of quicksand when fighting against a proficient guard player, Danaher has a recommendation for you. Here, Danaher’s partner establishes a lasso. If he feels he's beginning to lose the battle due to being off-balanced or becoming too wrapped up in the transgressions of the bottom player, Danaher fishes for a grip on the gi pants and then employs the ashi garami position as a means of getting back into the fight. He simply lowers his level, enters his knee in between the legs, and sits back into the ashi garami position. WIth the power of his legs, Dnaher can break his partner’s grips easily. He then refers to his previously acquired grip on the pants, which can be utilized as a straight or cross grip configuration. Danaher can now begin to perform a simple technical lift, bringing his partner’s leg with him and stealing the ability from his partner to follow him back up to a standing position. If his partner does manage to follow him up through the exchange, he’ll find himself with a severe deficit upon arrival. 

Danaher closes things out with the reminder that when we are in the guard passing position, it's our responsibility to first maintain the top position. Make sure you've exhausted all of your other guard passing procedures before using an emergency measure of this type. As Danaher explains, this should not be your first course of action. Also adding that there is risk associated with these kinds of actions. Specifically, giving up the top position as you make your way into ashi garami. This is why the grip on the pants is so paramount here. Make sure you find that grip before you begin the process.

This is a phenomenal concept and it would serve us well to keep this one in our back pockets during our guard passing endeavors. This is a wild card that would surely free you from danger if performed properly and afford you the ability to get back into the game. Amazing advice and superb technique as always from the great  John Danaher! 

Passing the Guard: BJJ Fundamentals - Go Further Faster by John Danaher

Sharpen your skills with John Danaher! The Go Further Series is designed to push your limits in the Gi. Check out the most recent installment dedicated to PASSING THE GUARD!



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