Guard Passing Basics for BJJ

By on July 25, 2013
Me, Back Step Passing.

Me, Back Step Passing.

Over the course of the past few weeks I’ve done a LOT of emailing back and forth with readers, as well as phone calls with the majority of people who’ve bought my new or recent courses (MicroBJJ Store / Downloads Finally Finished!). My emphasis was to find out what most people were having the most trouble with, and “film my butt off” in hopes of helping some folks.

Besides ESCAPES – which came across as a universal theme in what people where looking for – “Guard Passing” was a huge theme amongst all belt levels, and it got me thinking into my own game, and some of the things I do most when it comes to passing. With the aim of making things MOST relevant, I started things off by answering some of the questions of my readers.

Below are a selection of the Q-and-A videos that I thought might end up being MOST helpful and widely applied by the people that follow what I do. Enjoy!

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Beating the Leg Drag Counters

On the MicroBJJ Fanpage: Chris James ”Our purple belts are really mean, and have amazing open guards. They are pretty much immune to my leg drag / double under combos.”

I’m all about the back take. If someone has a counter to my guard pass, my goal is to take the back. The leg drag offers an AWESOME opportunity for this in both Gi and No Gi situations.

Anti-Flexible-Guy Stack Pass Variation (I Love This)

On the MicroBJJ Fanpage: Alex Cook ”I’d say passing flexible guards…right when it seems like you’ve passed, there’s a leg hooking you out of nowhere!”

This variation is something that I first had to use against my first BJJ protege Tim O’Connell, who’s known for being ridiculously flexible. Unable to stack him fully, I dip to the side and “burrow” my head to the chest, bypassing the flexi-legs problem.

Settling Into Dominant Position Without Getting Thrown Off

On the MicroBJJ Fanpage: Devin Alexander ”Getting to side control and getting swept… life can be hard as the smallest and LIGHTEST guy on the mat lol.” And Fisch Altar ”To pass a blackbelt and maintain posisiton and control (for 10 seconds)”

The important detail that I cover in this video is getting head control EARLY to make sure the far shoulder stays down, hence the opponent stays flat. More advanced strategies involve letting him turn in, and then going for back takes and armbars, but you readers seemed to want to learn the details for settling. It’s not always easy to settle on the big guys, chin control is pivotal if you’re going to make it happen.

Passing the Z-Guard

On the MicroBJJ Fanpage: James Ryan Moreau ”Half guard shield!”

It’s not the most fun position to pass, but this option opens up a lot of attacks, and a “Marcelo-Style” pass that is still one of my favorites. I hope you like this one, James!

I hope that some of those little videos were helpful. When I tell you that 90% of my “good ideas” come from my readers – it’s the truth. Over 10,000 strong and I never for a second take that for granted!

Anywho, thanks for the Fanpage ideas and be sure to comment if there is anything else that I might help you with in terms of guard passes in the coming weeks of filming!

All the best!

-Daniel Faggella

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About Daniel Faggella

I'm 130 pounds, absolute medalist, Brown Belt No Gi Pan Am champion, and total fanatic about lightweight BJJ technique and strategy. I've written for Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and others.

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