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Stop the Spider Lasso with the Trusty Over Under Pass
They say that few things are guaranteed in life besides death and taxes. We here at BJJ Fanatics would also add pressure passing to that list. When you develop a strong pressure passing game, it will be inevitable that you will pass your opponent's guard. They may eventually be able to make slight adjustments to slow down the action, but at the end of the day, the price they pay to delay the pass will take a great toll on them that they may not want to incur.
Having diverse guard passing game does not always mean that you need to know dozens of different passes to address all of the crazy guard variations out there. Being able to keep an opponent playing your game is just as important if not more crucial to making sure you dominate the action. When the answer to the questions being posed by an opponent's guard can be answered with one primary guard pass, you've essentially mastered the art of guard passing in the most efficient way.
Bernardo Faria is a perfect example of an absolute master at understanding a position so well, he can essentially use his well honed pressure passing knowledge to handle any guard that gets presented to him. Chances are when shown a brand new guard that no one has even seen, Bernardo will already be looking at it from the perspective of his Over Under Pass. The old cliche says that when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. For Bernardo that hammer is the Over Under Pass and every opponent's guard is the nail no matter how creative or daunting.
Two of the more frustrating 'newer' styles of guard you may face that utilize debilitating grips on your gi sleeves are the lasso guard and the spider guard. Both the lasso guard and the spider guard are extremely gi depending and can exist separately or become morphed into a hybrid lasso spider guard as we will see below.
In the lasso guard, a very controlling pistol or four-finger style grip is maintained on an opponent's arm and the same side leg is wrapped under and around the leg creating a vice-like grip on the sleeve and allowing the lasso guard player to easily steer the top player's body and arms . The spider guard utilizes a grip on the end of the gi sleeve coupled with the foot being pressed into their bicep on that same arm which makes it extremely difficult to free.
In the video below, Bernardo shows how he will methodically address the two elements of lasso and spider guard and bring the opponent into the deep waters of his Over Under Pass. Check it out below.
In this video, Bernardo mentions that he is building on lessons he developed in a previous BJJ instructrional. The importance of this statement is not to be underestimated as it shows that even for the highest level practitioners who have seemingly mastered the positions, there is always more to tweak to continue perfecting the position for every situation. Bernardo is constantly refining his pressure passing game to ensure that he is able to address the new, creative guards that are yet to come.
The first problem that Bernardo addresses is the spider guard side of the issue. With the foot in the bicep and the iron grip on the gi sleeve, the opponent is able to manipulate the pressure of their leg to create a great deal of unbalancing that could lead to being swept or even caught in submissions like triangles or omoplatas.
As long as the opponent has the foot nestled in the crook of the elbow, they have the most control. By straightening his arm and turn his palm upwards Bernardo puts a great deal of pressure onto the opponents leg and foot and slides the pressure point onto the forearm which takes some of the control back. Then by bringing his arm backwards to tap the opponent's heel on his knee, he is able to easily dislodge the controlling foot of the spider guard. Before the opponent has an opportunity to regroup and regain this guard, Bernardo takes an under grip on the hip.
Now that he's established half of the Over Under Pass, he can very effectively work to get his over hook on the other side once he gets himself free of the pesky lasso grip. To do so, he is going to make a fist and drive it to the floor and simultaneously hop his thighs over to control the leg and foot on that side. This gives him the necessary control and leverage to break the lasso grip and immediately secure the over hook control on the thigh and leg.
From there, it is textbook Bernardo Faria as he completes the Over Under Pass. Though his style of passing worked on the highest stages of competitive grappling, earning him 5 world titles, Bernardo is most proud of the fact that his game is seen as beneficial for so many average grapplers, especially those advancing in years and not as athletic as the world champions out there today.
Besides all of great resources that you can take advantage from Bernardo Faria, like "The Pressure Passing Encyclopedia", "Battle Tested Pressure Passing" or "Omoplata Everyone" to just name a few, you may also want to check out "High Level Fundamentals" from Gregor Gracie to learn more pressure filled basics that will serve your game for your entire career. These are not the latest fad techniques. These are the tried and true techniques that you will see work on the highest level competition mats year after year.