The majority of your training time in rolling with an opponent of comparable experience will be defending the guard or passing the guard.
There are numerous different guards out there and a new guard style seems to come out every major tournament, so it is a tall order to pass an advanced player’s guard.
Here are four tips to help you pass a difficult guard:
Learn the Basics of the Guard Itself
If you have an understanding of what guard players need e.g., grips and distance – you can negate their advantages. You don’t need to be an expert, but play around with that guard style a little so you understand what is going on. Spend some time trying each guard style in your own training so you understand the enemy you are trying to defeat.
You can’t pass a guard if your opponent has solid controlling grips.
Some of the best advice I received was to not try to pass when your opponent has the guard grips they want. You need to stop your pass, break the grips, reset with proper posture, then start to pass again.
Base and Posture are the Most Important
Now, you would be hard pressed to find a highlight video on YouTube of base and posture, but it is more important than a flashy cartwheel guard pass.
What is difficult to see when watching the top competitors pass the guard is just how solid they are on top. They apply pressure while maintaining their balance at all times.
When you are in a hurry to pass, you often forget your balance and pay the price by getting swept. You must be patient, keep a solid base, and wait for the correct moment to make your move.
Don’t Fall in Love With a Single Pass
I have seen blue belt tournament matches where the passer had clearly fallen in love with the knee cut pass. Despite the fact the guard player had set an effective knee shield guard defense, the passer persisted in trying to force that knee cut pass . . . and failed!
If you study the top competitors, you will learn that they link together several passes that combine well. When guard players defend Pass A, they immediately switch to Pass B, taking advantage of a new opening.
Tip: Make sure you have a few passes that you can do to BOTH sides. Don’t be a passing ONLY to the left specialist!
Here Stephan Kesting of Grapplearts shows a few principles to apply to your guard passing.
Read also on Jiu-jitsu Times – Skip The Basics – Let’s Do Advanced Bjj!