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Guard Passing Concepts

Guard Passing Concepts


Developing a good guard passing game is one of the most difficult things to do in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Guard passing is one of the most tiring, and difficult parts of bjj.  If someone has a good guard, it can be next to impossible to pass.  A good way to develop a well-rounded guard passing game is to have a conceptual approach.

Guard passing concepts are important to incorporate into your game so that you can progress.  Some of the most vital guard passing concepts include, posture, pressure, and timing.  If you have good posture,  pressure, and good timing, these can be the pillars that you develop your guard passing game from.

Posture for Guard Passing

Posture may be the most important aspect to having a good guard passing game.  To be comfortable passing, you must be able to defend sweeps, and have good balance. Balance will be easier to develop if you incorporate good posture while you pass.

There are so many guards that it is unrealistic to think you have a good passing game from any position.  However, you can easily develop good posture from every position.  For instance, you can have good posture from De La Riva, Spider Guard, or Closed Guard.  This will make it much more difficult for your opponents to apply submissions or sweeps from any guard.

 Something to be noted is that your posture will vary from guard to guard.  For example, from half guard, good posture would be the equivalent of good pressure.  To stop half guard sweeps, and implement good passing, you need a good under hook or cross face.  We recently wrote an article on the power of the under hook, check it out here, also, check out this awesome instructional from Bernardo Faria showing the principles of pressure passing.

Pressure and Guard Passing

Anytime you are passing the guard, it is important to implement pressure.  There is a common misconception in the Jiu Jitsu community as to what pressure is.  People associate the term pressure with the term “smashing.”  There is pressure where you smash your opponent, maybe you use a cross face, (we wrote an article breaking down the power of the cross face and pressure, check that out here) but today we discuss a different pressure application.

Pressure can also be relentlessness, and pace.  You can pressure your opponent by constantly moving so that they are reacting to you.  If you are passing the guard, move from one pass to another and don’t give your opponent time to establish positons.  This way, you are dictating the pace. 

You can also apply pressure in a sense of posture.  You can make yourself much more difficult to move without smashing your opponent.  For example, if you are in spider guard, or De La Riva guard, you can squat, keep your back strait, get grips, keep your elbows in tight, and this will apply a form of pressure on your opponent and make you much more difficult to move.  Pressure is a very loose term.  Check out this video of Leandro Lo doing a 7-point pass below.  It does not seem like he is applying traditional “pressure” but he is.


Timing and Guard Passing

Timing is one of the most important elements of Jiu Jitsu.  To have good sweeps, submissions, or passes, you need to have good timing.  Timing is what separates world class bjj practitioners from the rest of competitors.  Why?  Well, most people know the techniques that world class competitors use, but the reason they make them work is from timing.

  For example, Bernardo Faria is infamous for his over-under pass.  People know how to do an over-under pass, but they haven’t put nearly as much time as Bernardo has in the move, and from this time he dedicated, he developed unbelievable timing with the pass.  So even if you know all the details that Bernardo knows, you may not be able to apply it nearly as well because his timing is perfect.

To have good guard passing, you need timing.  You must be able to hit your pass at the perfect moment.  For example, if you are passing De La Riva, when your opponent tries to extend you, you should capitalize on their momentum and use the timing to pass.  Check out this video of Leandro Lo showing a 50/50 pass.  

So in order to develop a well-rounded guard passing game, you should adapt the concepts of posture, pressure, and timing. This will accelerate your guard passing game.  If you want to sharpen you guard passes, check out World Champion, Leandro Lo’s 4 DVD set “ The Lo Guard and Matrix Passing.”


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