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Guard Passing Artistry with Lachlan Giles
We spend countless hours acquiring knowledge that strengthens our jiu-jitsu.
If you’re a true student of the game, you’re constantly searching for ways to add value to your own unique game. During this process ideas morph and merge to create a style inherent to the knowledge you’ve gained.
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We all stay focused on our progression and building the tool box, but do you ever stop and just watch how beautiful jiu-jitsu really is? It’s unlike anything else in the world. And though many crafts require unwavering dedication, recruiting the use of the entire body as one machine to perform a task against another resisting body is an impressive feat, and unique to our art.
The level of efficiency in movement that can be attained is astounding. Putting in the time to understand the capabilities of your body, and working to reach its full potential is a daunting, but an incredibly rewarding task. We never reach the end, or a platform that reads “success”, but it’s the journey and its’ milestones that bring forth these amazing results as we continue on the path.
Like any sport, BJJ boasts countless highlight reels of these beautifully artistic moments of perfect movement. Moments where not a bit of movement is wasted, and the timing is impeccable.
Lachlan Giles enjoyed one of these moments in a match against his student Craig Jones. Jones is quite obviously a phenomenal practitioner, and elite competitor, so Giles had to really work for this one. This combination of passes formed to create one ultimate passing moment. Giles strung together a series of movements coupled with perfect timing and speed to form one impressive passing sequence. It’s a pleasure to watch, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put this one in the drilling hopper either. Enjoy.
Amazing right? Definitely a pleasure to watch. Moments like these deserve some close attention.
So, what happened here?
The whole sequence begins with Giles inside of Jones’s dangerous z-guard. The first movement is a bit unorthodox as Giles is looking to clear his knee from the z-guard. As he cuts knee out from in between Jones’s knees. This was a great way to remove himself from the z-guard, but it also put Giles in position where he was to the extreme outside of Jones’s body. During his exit from the z guard, Giles kept connection to Jones by cupping the back of his neck, which made it difficult for Jones to push him away. It seems Giles original plan was to perform what looked to be some variation of the weave pass, but as he states, he was not quick enough to initiate it.
With his connection the back of Jones’s neck, and his fist on the floor between Jones’s legs, Giles is at risk of succumbing to inversion and all the challenges it may bring with it. Especially from Jones. So, he made a quick decision to pass his inside knee over Jones’s bottom leg, followed by a lighting fast windshield wiper movement that propelled him to the other side of Jones’s body.
As Jones catches up, he turns back toward Giles, attempting to get his knee back in to the space between the two of them to recompose his guard. As this occurred, Giles was able to cup Jones’s knee, push it out of the way, and position himself hip to hip. It wasn’t an option for Giles to come forward and blast through Jones’s frames, so he styed close to the hips, cementing the guard pass.
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At the close of the technique, Giles shows us what his next move might have been. Because he would have met strong resistance here in the form of framing, He demonstrates how he may have closed the exchange. Stepping over the legs and forming a triangle to bundle them, Giles prefers to work his way to mount.
There’s a lot at work here. And knowing how good Jones is, and how many times Giles may have narrowly escaped danger over the course of the sequence, makes it all the more exciting and jaw dropping. It was like watching an action sequence in a good movie. When Giles finally settled in hip to hip, I felt I could take my next breath.
Giles was able to string together multiple methods of passing here to create the perfect setting, which in my opinion is completely necessary if you hope to pass the guard of someone even close to the level of Craig Jones. Staying ahead of a world class BJJ player is no easy task, and a rarity. When these moments are documented, its fun to study them, and see what can be learned. This was a lot of fun to watch, and I’ll certainly be doing my best to break it down further in my own training to see if I can bring it to life. Simply amazing.