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How To Pass The Half Guard In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

How To Pass The Half Guard In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


There are so many different ways to pass half guard... you might think you have seen everything there is to a fundamental technique such as half guard, but you are wrong!

No matter how long you have been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you will never stop learning new concepts and techniques to age old positions and submissions. There is no one way to hit a kimura, no one way to take an opponent’s back, no one way to sweep, and no one way to play guard. So many of us take for granted how important it is to always be looking for new methods to diversify our game.

Travis Stevens has simple concepts that he applies to his throws, takedowns and guard passing. His approach is simple, and makes him one of the best grapplers ever.


When it comes to some of the most standard things we could work on, passing half guard is at the top of the list. If you have ever grappled a good half guard player you know it can be a difficult task to figure out a way to get around their powerful legs. Often times a good half guard player will be using a knee shield and framing away from you to control their distance before entering in for a submission or a sweep. It is always worth it to focus on the fundamentals and refine your techniques. With that in mind, let’s explore some different methods for passing the half guard in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Here we go!

How To Pass The Half Guard With Travis Stevens

The half guard is a primary focus for so many high level competitors. You have surely seen guys like Tom DeBlass, Bernardo Faria, and Travis Stevens use the half guard as the foundation of their competitive success. Because half guard is such a widespread popular position passing it can be quite difficult. In the video below Travis Stevens how to pass a half guard player who is in the process of progressing offensively or taking your back. Check out the video below and then we will break down the technique!

Here are a few takeaways from Travis Stevens’ half guard passing technique. If the guard player is active on bottom and trying to attack or sweep then the first thing they will usually do is go for an under hook. The under hook is used to adjust position and open up space, as well as set up an entrance into deep half guard. Travis Stevens recommends staying heavy and collapsing on your training partner’s under hook to remove their power and focus on their hips. Now you can pay attention to your opponent’s outside knee. You want to control your opponent’s hips by bringing the knee tight into their hip. Also how you grip is very important. Travis demonstrates some great grip technique that will radically increase your passing percentage. Travis recommends not wasting any time with the knee shield. Instead of trying to smash the knee shield you should focus on your training partner’s bottom leg.

Back Step Half Guard Pass

If you find yourself caught in half guard, this back step could be the right way to transition out of it. This one is so simple even a white belt can do it. At the same time you lift your hips and straight your legs your knee will come out of half guard allowing you to take the back step over your opponent, switching into side control. Notice though that your leg is not completely free, so you will need to pressure while moving your hips back to slide your leg out and free your foot. Your grips are important here. One hand should be at your opponent’s neck or gripping the gi. The other hand needs to be “slicing” from behind the opponent’s knee, controlling that leg the entire time you are escaping your own leg.

Half Guard Pass Using Opposite Under Hook by Jake Mackenzie

This is a very unique way to pass half guard, one that most BJJ players will not expect. A lot of people typically try to fight for the under hook on your training partner’s top arm, but only few think about attacking the under hook on the bottom arm. Jake sets this up by allowing his training partner some space to shoot up for the under hook. When his opponent is connected to Jake, it gives him a quick opportunity to set his own under hook. In order to do this technique correctly you need to allow your opponent space to come up to their elbow. From here Jake sets an under hook, and pinches his knees together in order to start freeing his leg. It is very important to control your opponent’s arm in order to prevent from being swept. Remember that you want your foot to stay flat and connect to your training partner while passing the leg. Wait for your opponent to either hip escape or try to move. As soon as that happens it creates an opening to escape your trapped foot. Once Jake clears his foot he either goes to side mount or straight mount.

Effective Half Guard Pass by Gabriel Fonseca "Timbó"

This is Gabriel’s favorite way to pass the half guard. From your typical top half guard position, the first thing Gabriel looks for is a hook around his opponent’s neck. He uses this to pressure his opponent forward, breaking down their guard posture. Then he will establish and under hook on his opponent’s far arm, the same side he is controlling the leg with. From here Gabriel moves into three quarter mount position. Now he can get an under hook on one side and an over hook on the other side of his opponent.  By trapping the arms and putting his head one the ground, Gabriel adjusts his hips and slides his leg through, allowing him to pry open the half guard and finish the pass.

Hopefully these videos gave you some ideas for how to pass your opponent’s half guard. If you are interested in learning more about half guard there are many different instructional series on BJJ Fanatics specifically about attacking and defending from half guard, as well as countering it. So be sure to give these techniques a try the next time you are in a live roll! The more you know, the better chance you have at beating your opponent.

Learn Effortless Passing: The Art Of Passing The Guard Without Working Hard by Travis Stevens. Travis Stevens is a Judo Olympic Silver Medalist and John Danaher BJJ Black Belt. In his DVD series, he shares Simple Strategies That He Uses To Pass Even The Best Guard Players in the world. Travis Stevens stands as one of the most respected and impressive grapplers on the planet; his approach to grappling is unique, his background and mindset set him apart from everyone else.
This is a conceptual based video series that will help you pass any guard.



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