Finding The Folding Pass While Defending Against A Guard Pull With Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida
Whether you’re a newcomer to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or have been rolling for quite some time, it’s always a good idea to drill the fundamentals. Being one step ahead of your opponent is the key to success in this sport and one of the easiest ways to gain control is to be able to properly defend against a guard pull.
Legendary BJJ black belt and IBJJF World Champion Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida explains the intricacies of looking for the folding pass while disrupting your opponent’s guard pull.
Check out the Buchecha collection! Click Learn More!
“My idea when I’m training, when I’m fighting, is to always be one step ahead. That’s something that’s always been in my mindset. Of course, I always look for the reaction,” Almeida said. “I fight a lot of guys that don’t like standing against me, so I know they’re going to pull guard. But, before they pull, they’re going to need a safe grip.”
Defending Against A Guard Pull
If your opponent is trying to use the guard pull to take the fight to the ground, Almeida suggests trying to get them in a position that they’re not comfortable in. Lowering your stance as your opponent is attempting to reach in for the guard pull so they don’t know if you’re going to shoot.
When the opponent initially grabs the lapel of your gi, they are also looking to grab your opposite hand. However, they’re moving their leg forward as they drop back into the guard pull. This is the opportunity to look for the folding pass before they’re able to get into position, said Almeida.
“It doesn’t really matter which leg they’re going to put up first, but you just need to be aware with your hands,” Almeida said. “My kind of interception is controlling the leg. So, in this situation I’m always looking for [the outside] part of the leg, the side of the leg.”
Looking For The Folding Pass
As the opponent is pulling you down into guard, Almeida says to grip the side of their knee and push down to create an angle and then follow through with hip to hip contact. Ultimately, you’re trying to push both knees together at a downward angle, while pointing away from you. If executed correctly, this will allow you to gain control over your opponents hips.
“If my opponent pulls guard and even if I don’t pass, now he’s reacting,” Almeida said. “He’s going to give me options to get the folding pass and get side control.”
Folding Pass Starting From The Knees
You might have noticed many BJJ classes will start sparring from the knees to minimize the amount of space needed for a productive session while many students are in attendance. When this is the case, Almeida recommends driving your hips and body forward while pushing your opponent’s knees to the opposite side as they try to pull guard.
Once you’re at this point Almeida says to use your hip to push their legs toward their head and then move back to get the pass. It’s essentially the same movement in a more confined space. Don’t be too concerned with getting the pass—the important thing is to put your opponent on the defense and drain their energy, said Almeida .
“When he is approaching, he needs to have a leg up. So, it’s always going to be the same thing,” Almeida said. “Even if I don’t get the position here, the idea is to make my opponent react. If he is reacting, it’s good for me.”
Who Is Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida
São Paulo native Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under world renowned practitioner, Rodrigo Cavaca. Almedia has won numerous world-wide BJJ championships in the heavyweight division and is a member of the Checkmat team out of Long Beach, California. Almeida made the jump to mixed martial arts six years ago and is currently signed to Asian MMA promotion company, One Championship.