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Escape Half Guard With This Hybrid Guard Pass
One of the most important keys to success in BJJ is having a solid, well-developed guard pass arsenal. Being able to effectively nullify an opponent's most powerful weapons (their legs and hips) is key to putting yourself in the best possible position to implement your own offensive plan and controlling or submitting your opponent. Whether you are presented with an air tight closed guard or maybe a more relaxed half guard, you must be ready for the pitfalls and traps that the opponent could be lying in wait for you to fall into.
You must be forewarned that this is a long and daunting process and be prepared to work on amassing different approaches and techniques for the duration of your time training BJJ, as just as different guard types have developed over time, there will always be obstacles that you may not have planned for when trying to pass someone's guard. By constantly adding new weapons to your arsenal, not only are you preparing for as many variations of guard that you may face, but you are also developing and strengthening the underlying fundamentals and principles that exist as the universal truths of BJJ that we all eventually must come to respect and understand.
In the video below, five time World Champion Bernardo Faria welcomes his long time friend and training partner Gabriel Fonseca to his academy in Massachusetts to share one of his favorite half guard passes. As someone who has found himself stuck in the half guard of arguably the best half guard player to ever walk on the mats in Bernardo Faria, Fonseca has had to polish his passes to a pristine and flawless level. There would be no room for mistakes when you are trying to pass the guard of someone at Bernardo's level.
The true beauty of this pass is that it perfectly blends a few different techniques. By mixing these elements and creating this hybrid style pass, the chances that you'll be able to get past your opponent's legs will increase because you are using no wasted effort.
Classic Half Guard
Fonseca begins the demonstration stuck in classic half guard with Bernardo controlling one of his legs preventing him from passing. The first item on the agenda is securing a strong control of Bernardo's head to make him uncomfortable and to also ensure he has difficulty making adjustments and keeping the half guard locked.
The second item on Fonseca's agenda is to secure a far side under hook further pinning Bernardo to the mat. So far, these key elements should not be of any surprise. It is when he makes his adjustment from half guard to enter what is known as Three Quarter Mount that this guard pass begins to shine.
Three Quarter Mount
By flattening Bernardo and moving to a position where he is sitting on top of Bernardo's hips with only his lower leg caught in the vice like grip, Fonseca achieves the Three Quarter Mount position. In this position, many BJJ athletes will work extremely hard to free their leg and achieve full mount. This can be extremely difficult as the tenacious half guard player would rather die than have that leg get free.
The Hybrid Pass
We have now arrived at the point where this pass truly shines. The initial head control is relinquished in favor of a second under hook which keeps Bernardo flattened and his body elongated. The first under hook which was secured at the beginning of the pass is abandoned and replaced by an extremely strong over hook.
The combination of the newly found nearside under hook and the farside over hook keep Bernardo from being able to use his arms and his upper body. With this arm control, Gabriel plants his forehead into the mat to create a base that allows him to raise his hips and begin knee slicing through with the leg that is not trapped by Bernardo. As the knee slice cuts across the foot is used to pressure and open the half guard that is keeping the foot trapped. And it is here that the pass is completed and side control is secured.
So what began as a half guard pass to Three Quarter Guard transformed into a knee slice with a touch of smash pass. All of the best elements of a variety of passes are used to escape one of the best half guards on the planet. Take some time and add this half guard pass to your arsenal and chances are your opponents will have no answers to this technique and you'll be dominating them in side control in no time.
To learn more about the half guard prowess of Bernardo Faria, check out his Battle Tested Half Guard here. In this best-selling series, Bernardo shares all of the secrets that have had him dubbed the Michael Jordan of the half guard by the jiu jitsu press and mainly by his opponents. And be sure to be on the lookout for Gabriel Fonseca's BJJ instructional coming soon from BJJ Fanatics!