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BJJ Instructional Videos
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How to Defend the Over-Under Pass

How to Defend the Over-Under Pass


The natural evolution of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu appears to favor guard advancement more so than passing. This may be attributed to, in part, by recent innovations in the leg-lock territory which has drastically expanded the potential attacks for the guard player.


As a consequence, it can be seen in highly competitive matches that top players are more cautious and are abandoning the domain of guard passing in favor of their own leg lock attempts. Even as a fan of leg attacks, I find it extremely valuable to continue to develop guard passing skills as a mainstay for the top attacking game.


In reexamining the infinite forms of guard passing, it can be quickly deduced the most successful passes comprise of one fundamental rule: locking down the hips. Pinning the hips to a flat immobile position is the primary goal in many forms of guard passing; it is, however, applied uniquely and to a different degree of effectiveness in the different forms of guard passing.


The effectiveness of these techniques can be graded by their overall success against the toughest of guards. The Over/Under guard passed has aced the test over and over again. The technique, albeit visually simple, requires an intricate ability to apply an extensive amount of pressure to the opponent’s hips while allowing the guard passer to be unexpectedly mobile.


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Because the over/under pass is so such a greatly effective pass, it can be extremely difficult to defend. Its defense requires an intricate understanding of the directional mechanics of the pass so that the guard play can place frames and hip escape in the right direction. The following video by Romulo Barral illustrates the basics for defending the over/under pass.



One of the most common mistakes in defending the over-under pass, which Romulo touches on, is that the guard player will begin by pushing at the guard passer’s shoulders. This, as Romulo says, is what the top player wants. By pushing at the shoulders, the defender is pushing in the direction that makes the least sense for defending the pass.


By rotating to the side and pushing the head over, the defense becomes more effective. Head positioning is one of the most important details for finishing the over/under pass. If the defender knows how to move and push the defender’s head appropriately, the pass will inevitably fail.


Romulo Barral has cultivated one of the most effective ground games in BJJ today. If you want to learn some of the strategies that have made him so successful, now is the time!




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