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Three Drills To Improve Side Switching When Passing
Practice These To Get Yourself Better At Passing!
Modern Jiu Jitsu requires grapplers take a unique approach to passing complex guards that can lead to sweeps and leg locks. For the smaller grappler, as opposed to a large grappler who can apply large amounts of pressure when passing, passing the guard must involve quick movements with a lot of side switching. If you watch any of today’s best guard passers, you will notice that they essentially have no weak side when passing and effortlessly switch between left and right.
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The problem with developing a guard passing system that attacks both sides is that the weak side for most grapplers is not drilled nearly as much as the strong side. Because of this, even the simplest of passes are not used on the cross side because there is no muscle memory of that pass on the weak side to make it work. Thus, it is important to drill simple passes on both sides to improve that side specific muscle memory. When doing the following drills, remember to do them at a high pace because that is the best way to make them subconscious.
The first drill I like to do on a regular basis to train both sides is a knee slice side switch. The knee slice is a pass every grappler knows well, but usually only to one side. The drill requires the grappler start on one side with their hands on their partners hips. To switch sides, place your weight forward and walk your feet back and enter the pass to the other side, and then repeat for reps. You can add on to this drill by finishing the pass with each repetition traditionally or with a quick long step.
The next drill is a really easy one but involves a pass not many grapplers use, the leg drag. The leg drag is such an easy pass that every decent grappler should be able to do it to both sides effortlessly. To do this drill, start by standing while your partner places their feet on your hips. Initiate a leg on drag to one side while you squat and shift your weight towards the side you dragged to. After this, just start back in the starting position and repeat to the other side. This drill should be done at an especially high pace.
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Finally, the most physically demanding drill of the ones mentioned is the gorilla drill. The movement of the drill is not necessarily an actually pass but improves guard passing endurance and also improves the ability to maintain light legs when passing. To do this drill, your partner should be laying with their knees up and feet down. Starting on your partner’s side right next to their legs, place your far palm or fist in between their legs while your close hand grabs the close knee. From here, place your weight forward and hop/skip around the legs to the other side. Switch hand positioning as appropriate and repeat to the other side for repetitions.