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Headquarters: The Home of Guard Passing
Basic Ideas For
Guard passing is one of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of Jiu Jitsu, especially when going up against a skilled practitioner. It is rare to pass the guard on first attempt and it will usually require multiple techniques and side switches to finally complete the pass. This does not make the guard passer incompetent within itself so long as the pass comes to fruition.
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There are two basic forms of guard passing in Jiu Jitsu: smash passing and fasting passing, albeit certain techniques fall into the grey area between the two modes. What is important, and you will find this in all skilled guard passers, is the ability to return to a base guard passing position that yields various paths a top player can take. This will be even effective if the guard passer is also skilled at attacking the legs.
One common position that can be described as an excellent passing base is what is known as the headquarters position. This position requires the passer to sit of the foot of one leg of the guard player and using the other knee or shin to smash the bottom player’s far leg. It is also vital maintain a low and heavy base here.
This position is very effective at limiting the guard players attacks. It can be used to thwart closed guard entry, De la Riva guard, reverse De la Riva guard, and many other forms of open guard. Adding lapel grips and lifting your opponent slightly towards you can also make it much more dangerous.
The reason this position finds so much success in passing is that it yields both fast and smashing passes such as the knee slice pass, the X-pass, and various forms of smash passing involving sprawling the legs. It also opens up the forward kimura roll if that is something that interests you. The simplicity and effectiveness of this base can be enjoyed by new and advanced practitioners alike.
In the following video, you can see Craig Jones use a variant of this position to set a sprawling smash pass that can land you in mount of side control.
Having a home base, like headquarters, when passing the guard can be immensely helpful. A great home base, however, has to be stable, meaning that your home base shouldn’t be when you are in the guard player’s De la Riva guard or closed guard. It should be a position where the guard player can’t attack well and where you can easily transition between different passes.