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Glide Through Anyone's No Gi Guard with Lachlan Giles

Glide Through Anyone's No Gi Guard with Lachlan Giles



No Gi Passing: Techniques vs. Principles

With any aspect of Jiu Jitsu, there are two levels to think about. The first level, and the one that’s most obvious, is looking at individual moves in detail. It’s helpful to build our toolbox by adding in small sequences as we progress. At a certain point, however, it’s worth zooming out a little and looking at principles instead of techniques. 

Any single, specific technique is narrow in its focus and application. Sometimes it can be helpful to look instead at general principles. Lachlan Giles teaches on both levels, but his focus in the clip below are general principles for no gi passing. These are much more broad than individual techniques, and allow for each practitioner to find their own path.

Lachlan Giles on No Gi Guard Passing


Talking Technique

Below, I’ve detailed the five main focuses of no gi passing according to Lachlan Giles. Keep reading for a quick list of things to remember the next time you’re stuck in someone’s no gi guard. These tips work somewhat like a progression, with each tip coming in to play after the last has been used effectively.

Check Out Lachlan's TOP-TIER Instructionals HERE!



Tip 1- Control the Connection

The first rule of playing open guard from the top is to control the connection. Do not let your opponent anchor the soles of their feet to your hips or thighs, or they’ve gained an advantage for creating space. Many people instinctively try to control the knees from standing positions, but this leaves your partner room to circle their legs and insert hooks. Instead of grabbing at the knees, control their ankles instead. Applying some downward and outward pressure on the legs of your partner should get you past the first step of passing a no gi guard.

Tip 2- Get Inside Position on the Legs

The next thing to focus on after you’re past your partner’s feet is gaining inside position with your legs. If they are able to get their legs back, then they’ll be able to use them to shrimp, recover guard, or shield themselves. Your legs need to be inside of theirs. One way to do this is with a simple knee-cut motion, lowering your knee to the ground past the bottom leg as you staple it to the ground with your shin for temporary control. You can even rotate your shin outwards in order to elevate the other player’s calf muscle off of the ground and prevent an escape.

Tip 3 - Get Inside Position on the Arms

Getting inside the legs is crucial and the next step is similar: get inside with your arms. You can fight for an underhook or you can take wrist control from an inside position in order to get this done. The goal here is to control your opponent’s lateral movement through the use of inside position. If you fail to secure this inside position, you’ll likely lose your grip on a skilled opponent in No Gi, even after doing all the work to get to the position. This is essential for keeping control through the pass.

Tip 4 - Block the Far Hip

Along the same lines, you need to keep control of your partner’s hips as you move north to complete the pass. It’s common for people to move from half guard to side control without properly controlling the opponent. In order to do this, use your far side arm to seal-in the ribs of your partner as your elbow monitors their hip. To finish the pass, keep this control as tight as possible.

Tip 5 - Threaten Submissions to Improve Passing Opportunities

Our fifth tip is a gem: use your submissions to improve your passing opportunities. The idea is that threatening a finish will force your opponent to tap or allow the pass. This type of dilemma is ideal, and we even get an example: a standing heel hook attempt will likely cause your opponent to disconnect and drop their leg to the mat, allowing you to initiate the pass. In the same way, wrapping the neck for a choke attempt from half guard will often cause the other player to posture backwards and give space for an easy pass.

5 Focuses for Passing a No Gi Guard:

  • Control the connection
  • Get inside position on the legs
  • Get inside position on the arms
  • Control the far hip as you pass
  • Threaten submissions to create space for passing

Good luck getting out there and working these five focuses in your own passing game!

An Expert From Down Under

An Australian coach and competitor working out of Absolute MMA, Lachlan Giles is one of the most successful No Gi grapplers in recent memory. In the last decade, he has competed in major tournaments like IBJJF No-Gi Worlds, the Pan-Pacific Championships, The Eddie Bravo Invitational, and Abu Dhabi, meddling in all of them. He has competed in many Gi tournaments as well, having taken home an ADCC medal as well. While creating his own legacy, Giles has also been a key player in the development of No Gi phenom Craig Jones.


Outside of Jiu Jitsu, Lachlan Giles has earned a PhD in physiotherapy, making him an expert in anatomy twice over. If you enjoyed his ideas about passing the No Gi guard and would like to hear more, you can get it in his video series, The Guard Passing Anthology. His first entry in this series revolves around passing half guard, including unorthodox passes that he’s developed in his years as a successful competitor. If you’re interested in upping your passing percentages, take a look and add some of Giles’ techniques into your game.



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