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Use The Sao Paulo Pass To Decimate The Guard!

Use The Sao Paulo Pass To Decimate The Guard!


Passing the closed guard is one of the very first things we learn how to do when we first start training Jiu Jitsu.  As you likely know by now passing the closed guard is not exactly rocket science, it really is as simple as going over the opponent’s legs or going under them.  Seems simple enough, right? Sure, drilling these techniques can be quite simple. 

It is not until you are against a resisting opponent that it becomes problematic.  See it all seems simple in theory, but when the opponent is locking their legs around you as tight as they can and using the strength of their hips to pull you into them keeping your posture broken down and ultimately grip fighting with you to get grips on your lapels and sleeves to keep you from posturing up, well, that’s when it gets real. 

Thankfully, there are a lot of tips and tricks when it comes to getting the guard opened, and plenty of ways to get passed the opponent’s legs once you do.  We start learning these passes very early on in the training and they tend to serve us well in the early days of our training. As we advance through the ranks, our passing skills, as well as everything else, must advance too.  

What makes guard passing so challenging is that the opponent typically knows exactly what you want to do and therefore, it is easier to stop them.  This is where the element of surprise comes in to play. The more passes you know how to execute on, the more options you have in each guard passing situation.  

As you can imagine, it is helpful to learn the high percentage passes that are currently being used at the highest levels along with the passes that are effective, yet not very popular.  A combination of these 2 types of passes will position you well to get passed your opponent’s guard and into a position to start attacking more easily. 

When it comes to guard passing, there are a lot of “greats” out there, but for now let’s start with breaking down the Sao Paulo Pass with Leonardo Nogueria.  Leonardo and Bernardo came up together training together a lot over the years and, to quote Bernardo, “going to war with each other”. Leonardo is a 2 time world champion grappler that brings a lot of experience and expertise to the table to break down this technique and show all of the minor details that make or break the technique.  

Let’s dive and see what we can learn from this world champion that we can add into our game immediately to increase our confidence and capability passing our opponent’s guard. 


Starting in the closed guard Leonardo is looking to get his right hand to grip his opponents left bicep.  Once he is able to get this grip, he then uses his left hand to get a grip just below the opponent’s right arm pit.  For this grip Leonardo is simply rolling up the Gi jacket material to get his grip. From here he comes up to his toes and drives into his opponent putting his head on the opponent’s left side. 

Learn The Sao Paulo Passing System TODAY! Click Learn More!


From this position Leonardo is looking to sprawl his legs back driving his hips into the opponent’s left leg ensuring he is driving their left knee to the mat and making sure he is keeping a lot of pressure on the opponent’s leg so that the knee stays pinned to the mat.  Leonardo notes that you must stay really tight to the opponent at this point to ensure you do not put yourself at risk of any submissions or sweeps.

At this point Leonardo is using his right hand to control the opponent’s top leg (their right leg in this example) and he holds the leg there long enough to step over his leg and the opponent’s legs with his right leg.

It’s at this point he is ready to use the right hand to push the opponent’s bottom knee and force them into a half guard position as he shuffles back to being centered with his opponent.  At this point he has let go of the armpit grip on the Gi Jacket and moved to a traditional under hook and he is staying low in the top half guard square with his opponent and controlling the opponent’s left arm with this right arm.  

From this spot Leonardo is now positioned to start looking to pass the opponent’s half guard and get to work.  The easiest way to pass the opponent’s half guard from here in Leonardo’s opinion is to base out with his right  knee as he steps his foot on the opponents left thigh. He is also basing out with his right elbow as he stays heavy on the opponent.  He is now able to use his left leg to push the opponent’s legs away and slice through bringing his knee to the ground and using a kickstand with his right leg. 

At this point it should look something like what you see pictured below.  Notice he is maintaining a grip or under hook on the opponent’s right side throughout the entire process. Also note that he is using his right arm to make sure the opponent can not get their elbow on the ground to start hip escaping.  Leonardo stresses the importance of not only staying tight at the end of this pass but also using his forehead on the opponent’s chin to push their head away while he finishes the pass. 

To finish the pass, he is simply pressuring into the opponent’s face with his forehead and using his free foot to push on the opponent’s legs and free the second foot.  As soon as he frees the second foot he slides it through and sits to his hip with the leg he just freed in front of him. 

I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed the amount of pressure this pass was generating.  I think it’s clear there is a lot to be learned from this 2 time world champion.  In the Sao Paulo Passing System you will find hours of detailed hidden gems that allow someone like Leonardo to be the passing machine he is.  This video instructional is sure to have you passing like a world champion. Don’t wait any longer, get your copy today and start learning the secrets that were previously only available to high level competitors.  You will be amazed at how quickly and how easily you start blasting through your team mates guard, but more importantly, your opponent’s guard.

If you liked this video clip breakdown then it’s time for you to check out The Sao Paulo Passing System by Leonardo Nogueira. 



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