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Gordon Ryan’s Half Guard Pass
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Gordon Ryan’s Half Guard Pass

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Gordon Ryan is one of the hottest properties in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and part of the reason is his knowledge of all things related to the guard. 

BJJ Fanatics is soon to release Ryan’s new DVD series on The Closed Guard, but in the video below, he shows us how to pass an opponent’s half guard when they have an underhook.

Ryan’s response to this situation is to get a near-side underhook on his opponent and use that to establish a body lock on his opponent.

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Ryan offers three options for locking your opponent: a ten finger grip, a palm-to-palm grip, or a wrist-to-wrist grip.  The wrist-to-wrist grip is the tightest; however, he cautions that—if you have a bad wrist—you should make sure that the hand of your underhooking arm is palm up to protect it from further strain and damage.

After establishing the body lock, Ryan applies pressure on his partner by bringing his head over her far shoulder.  This makes it difficult for her to put pressure on him or to create the necessary space to work an escape.

Ryan emphasizes that the best option for passing is to go to the opposite side from your underhook.  In other words, he is going to pass to the same side of his opponent that his head is located.

To begin the pass, Ryan brings his head all the way to the mat so that it serves as a base.  After basing with his head, Ryan places two butterfly hooks into his opponent’s upper legs so that he can control the space between her knees.

Ryan then slices over his opponent’s thigh with his right shin and brings his right knee to the floor.  While his opponent’s left leg is pinned under his right leg, Ryan takes this opportunity to pommel his left leg over his opponent’s left leg, as well.

Having passed his partner’s legs successfully, Ryan braces his left knee against her hips while bringing his head across her body to the opposite shoulder.  Because of the combination of the body lock and Ryan’s left knee, his partner’s mobility is still strictly limited. And he only releases the body lock after he has moved his head across; it’s at this point that he uses his overhooking arm to reach behind his opponent’s head and establish a strong side control.

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Recapping the fine details of this technique, Ryan warns that—after passing his opponent’s leg with his first knee, he wants to plant that knee far from his opponent’s body so that it can serve as a post in case she attempts to bridge.

He also advises that—once you pass your left leg past your opponent’s left leg—you set a butterfly hook to block her knees from coming in and prevent her from re-establishing guard.

Ryan finishes by extending his left leg outward until his knee reaches the ground and can control his opponent’s hips.

For Gordon Ryan’s complete demonstration, see the video below:

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