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White Belt Guard Passing Mistakes
Passing the guard is one of the most challenging aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, especially when you're relatively new and treading the deep waters as a white belt. Let's look at some very common guard passing mistakes that even higher belts can make sometimes.
Don't try to submit when stuck in someone's guard
This concept is especially true in closed guard. Though there are always going to be exceptions, when you are a new student, a good rule of thumb is to focus on your guard passing before you worry so much about trying to tap your opponents. The guard is the first line of defense for your opponent and if you don't spend the proper amount of time learning to get past those tough guard, you'll never achieve the submissions you want anyway.
Instead if you develop a strong guard passing game, you will get yourself to dominant positions more often and be able to work your submissions whenever you want. Again, it doesn't work the other way around.
Don't focus on the wrong problems
One of the biggest things I see with newer students is they get distracted with the wrong problems. When in closed guard, they worry too much about pinning the hands or fighting the hands when the hands aren't really threatening them. Instead of focusing on their base and posture, while finding a way to pin the opponent's hips down, they get into hand fighting.
Don't forget to climb the ladder
When explaining guard passing to new students, I often use the metaphor of the ladder and how it is important to work oneself up the ladder. In order to safely reach your goal at the top of the ladder, the most prudent way is to move methodically up the rungs and not to skip rungs. Many times when we are in a rush to pass the guard, whether we are a new student or not, we get greedy or inadvertently skip steps. Maybe we try to rush and don't secure a proper grip on their thigh or knee and they are able to regain a knee shield, thereby putting us back down the ladder a few rungs where we need to work our way back up.
In the video below, Tom DeBlass black belt Rob Hileman shows a very detailed leg weave pass. In this pass demonstration he shows the ability to address the proper problems and to climb the ladder. His goal first and foremost is to get past the guard. During the pass he is not working towards any specific submission. Instead, he looks to dominate and control the opponent and get to the best possible position to launch his attack. Enjoy!
For more on passing the guard, check out one of the best competitors to ever put on a gi, Rodolfo Vieira's Jiu Jitsu Domination series where you will learn to smash, pass and submit!