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Never Get Swept Again with Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes
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Never Get Swept Again with Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes

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Great guard passing is essential if you hope to be successful at any level of competition. The guard pass is the first gateway to victory and once achieved takes a great physical and mental toll on your opponents. Once the guard has been conquered, a certainly level of vulnerability us now present and can be taken advantage of if you have the right tools. 

In the modern age of jiu-jitsu, where guards have become incredibly dynamic, the ability to simply keep our balance is now tested more than ever, let alone passing some of these dangerous guards. We must find ways to settle in, keep our balance from being compromised and then continue onward, opening the guard and passing. There are many choices. Recruiting gravity as an ally, some choose to stand, others prefer the security of passing from the knees, keeping the bottom players from gaining access to the underside of the body. You’ll see many use quick movements and multidirectional pathways to juke and misdirect the guard player, while some top players prefer to get tight and stay tight.

While your passing style will be unique to you, depending on what you gravitate towards and what you’re learning at your academy, there are some concepts we can all benefit from when it comes to our approach. Principles of body positioning and balance that we can observe, that will immediately give us a leg up when we begin engage in a passing scenario. 

Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes passes with incredible mastery and he’s seemingly impossible to turn over. Take a look back at Mendes’ competition history and you’ll see an impressive list of victories over some of the most famous names in BJJ competition history. This incredible list is topped with a 2019 ADCC gold medal, earned just months ago. 

With a new instructional entitled, Unsweepable & Unsubmittable, Mendes is giving us insight into his amazing passing game as well as some advice on how to keep from being finished. This is a unique concept that touches on the more transitional stages of our training and something that we could all benefit greatly from. You can check out the trailer for the release here. In this video, Mendes delivers some information on what to expect in this new series and offers some sage advice on some concepts you might not be paying enough attention to. Take a look! 

 

Mendes first touches on a concept he refers to as “triangle base”. In an example, Mendes gets in to a closed guard position and opens his knees very wide. Coupled with good posture, this configuration of the body lends itself to an unshakeable base. 

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The next idea here is reminiscent of something you may know as “combat base”. IN a similar formation, Mendes now brings one knee up, splitting the middle of the guard. He stays tight here, closing down the space underneath him as to not allow any hooks or limbs in to the mix. This particular base allows Mendes to move in multiple directions and choose different routes of passing. 

Next, Mendes describes another method of positioning himself, this time, on both feet and in a squatted position, with both legs inside of his partners legs. Continuing to stay low to again keep hooks and limbs out of the space under him, Mendes now looks to forge ahead to a favorable passing position.

In the final configuration, Mendes is standing but with certain caveats. He always protects the rear leg, so he chooses a staggered stance as his preferred position, using his hands to deal with attacks to the front leg. 

With a drill from standing, Mendes demonstrates how to release your foot from a grip on the ankle. Mendes offers a very important detail here, that I’ve certainly overlooked int eh past. To release his foot, he points his toes inward toward the ribcage and then kicks upward to release it. This drill can be performed on both sides, back and forth to cement the principle and commit it to muscle memory.

As his partner secures a single leg X position, Mendes brings us yet another idea for a drill to this incredibly common leg entanglement. As he finds himself in the position, Medes drives his knees to his partner’s belly, loading his weight up on to his partner. He then pulls apart the legs and backsteps out, clearing his hips from the guard.

These passing positions and subsequent drills are great hubs for approaching the pass and keeping good balance throughout our guard passing efforts. These two drills alone are derived from scenarios you probably encounter almost everyday in your training. This instructional will be packed full of details pertaining to these principles and techniques and its sure to add value to your passing and defensive game. 

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