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Hunting for a Guard Pass, with Jason Hunt
In real estate, they have a saying: "Always be closing." In BJJ, our version of that saying would probably be "Always be passing."
While some of us like to label ourselves submission hunters, we'd be better served if we thought of ourselves more as position hunters. After all, position comes before submission, right? We've all heard those words before.
But passing an opponent's guard is one of the most difficult challenges many of us face. It can feel like new guard positions get invented every single day, and we have to adapt. Otherwise, we're just spinning our wheels in someone's guard until they decide to put us out of our misery.
But there's another option instead of just waiting for the end: we can develop strategies for passing the guard.
In the video below, Jason Hunt shows us how he deals with knee shields as he tries to pass an opponent's guard.
Hunt begins his pass attempt with a Torreando Pass, but Bernardo responds by connecting his right leg to Hunt's right leg to establish the half guard. (It's Bernardo Faria, after all, what else would he do???)
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Hunt has to be careful not to allow Bernardo to get too deep into half guard or he will lose his opportunity to pass. So, Hunt maintains distance from Bernardo by sitting on Bernardo's ankle.
This limits Bernardo's options in half guard and preserves Hunt's opportunity to pass.
As Bernardo gets a collar grip on him, Hunt establishes an inside grip of his own on Bernardo's collar. Hunt also allows Bernardo to set up his knee shield because he intends to use his right arm to apply forward pressure to that leg. Hunt grabs Bernardo's pant cuff to apply that pressure, but he warns it is important to close your elbow as you grab that cuff.
If he leaves his elbow open, Bernardo can underhook that arm and knock him off balance.
Hunt also warns us that our legs should not be above our opponent's knee line. If we bring our leg close, our opponent can grab it and disrupt our balance.
From this position, Hunt is ready to pass Bernardo's guard, so--while gripping the cuff of Bernardo's left leg, Hunt puts his own left knee on Bernardo's right knee and pushes down to free his leg from Bernardo's half guard.
Then, in a quick motion, he pushes the knee shield down and moves past.
Hunt ends with both of his knees on Bernardo's hip. He closes his left elbow and brings his right hand to Bernardo's upper back, applying forward pressure.
Hunt advises that we should never leave space between ourselves and our opponent's hip. If we do, they will have an opportunity to roll, lasso a leg, or recover their guard.
Hunt's technique is definitely unique. His strategy of trapping his opponent's ankle in the crook of his knee and his use of his own knee to press down on his opponent's knee are effective in rendering one of his opponent's legs useless.
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