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Sweeping While Getting Pressure Passed
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Sweeping While Getting Pressure Passed

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Being a smaller, lighter grappler, I face a lot of difficulty defending against pressure passes like the over/under, double under, and so forth. This is especially true when rolling against bigger guys skilled at applying a lot of pressure and keeping me flat. When it comes to standing defense, my speed and agility allow me to defend quickly and efficiently, and I’ve had a hard time translating that to pressure pass defense.

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This struggle led me on a journey to find the best ways to defend against these sorts of passes. My first resource was my coach, who weighs roughly 130 pounds but can defend the passes of guys who weigh twice his size. The first thing I noticed is that this sort of passing defense requires smaller guys to think outside of the box and do things that seem like a bad idea. In reality though, he is applying his attributes and find ways to use them against the weight of the bigger grapplers.

One thing most people don’t do often, including myself, is looking for ways to attack our opponents while they are smash passing instead of just defending. If we spend the whole time just defending the pass, eventually we will fail. By continuously looking for sweeps and submissions though, our opponent’s will behave nervously and slow down. This is the first step, find ways to get those smash passers to pause or retreat.

A sweep I find that works well against smash passes is the butterfly sweep and its many variations. When our opponents smash pass, a lot of their weight is off their feet and it becomes easy to manipulate their lower body to our advantage. In the following video, Gordon Ryan shows an example of how to execute this sort of passing defense.

Defending any type of guard pass requires a lot of attention, but this is especially true for smash passes. We need to be paying attention to our opponent’s body position and where their weight is distributed. Understanding weight distribution well is a fundamental skill for becoming great at sweeping. If you are sweeping against someone’s weight, you will fail, but if you with their weight, you have a much more likely chance of succeeding or at least defending the guard pass.

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