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The Chair Sweep That Caught the Best Over Under Passer
There is an old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." that can be applied to one's BJJ development. As we progress, we are constantly adding more and more techniques to our knowledge base in an effort to take those techniques and build an effective game and strategy that allows us to create situations in which we are able to dominate our opponent and ultimately catch them in various submissions.
Implementing this game plan with all of these new moves is no easy task, because not only are you trying to perfectly execute complicated techniques that could involve your body bending and contorting in ways that it has never done before, but factor in the notion that you are doing these techniques against an unwilling opponent who is going to do everything in their power to stop each of your movements and work their own game plan. As you try to execute the perfect close guard pass, not only are they trying to stop you, but you might find yourself stuck in half guard just as you thought you were out.
Understanding that for every technique, there could be any number of counters and for each of those counters, there could be any number of counters, makes the mastery of jiu jitsu seem almost impossible, but if you embrace this idea of endless learning and enjoy the ride, your path to black belt and beyond will be more fun and enjoyable. Your job will be to work to never get fooled more than once with a counter, referring back to the quote we started with. It is like a magician with their sleight of hand trickery that we must use to lure our opponents into falling for one technique when in fact we are aiming for another.
To set the stage for our featured technique, the chair sweep, let's first take a look at Bernardo Faria teaching his signature Over Under Pass. The over under pass forms the cornerstone of Bernardo's entire Pressure Passing system. By using the pressure of his shoulder and the connection to the hips of the opponent, using the under hook and over hook, Bernardo is able to easily and safely pass the guard of even the top competitors in the world.
In the technique video below, we see this quote come to life as world champion Bernardo Faria, himself a master of the Over Under Pass gets caught in the Chair Sweep of visiting Brown Belt Trevor Johnston. With this unique sweep, Johnston joins an extremely exclusive club of practitioners who have been able to stop Bernardo's favorite pass.
There are two distinct keys to the effectiveness of this sweep. The first is the fact that he is able to keep his knee wedged into Bernardo's hips. Bernardo wants to extend that leg, making the hips less formidable and easier to step over. By keeping that knee in, it can form a "crowbar" as Trevor points out that makes the sweep possible.
The second key to this technique is the use of the hook by Trevor which prevents Bernardo from easily sprawling out and making the Over Under Pass effective. By introducing these two details, he is able to "fool" Bernardo once with the sweep.
But as Bernardo points out, one of the beautiful things about jiu jitsu is that he was able to anticipate the technique the second time and make the necessary adjustments to stop the sweep. So our goal should be to not get "fooled again" by the same technique if at all possible and work to create solutions.
One other valuable insight that Bernardo shares in this video is that even when he is swept from his favorite pass by the chair sweep, he ultimately ends up in his favorite bottom position, the half guard. This underscores the importance of exploring the contingencies of your game plan and ensuring that you have a good understanding of where you will end up if the plan doesn't go off without a hitch.
To learn more of Bernardo's Pressure Passing secrets you will want to check out his Battle Tested Pressure Passing available here from BJJ Fanatics. Just make sure you keep your eye out for the chair sweep. And if they catch you, make the adjustment and never get fooled again!