Passing is something we are often asked about and when answered, white belts, beginners, and novices get either flustered with too much information, or frustrated the answer to their question is too light on detail.
This is due to the complex nature of passing the guard and the reason for the frustration-flustration complex, from what I can surmise, is that passing the guard is a series of conceptual actions and not in itself a be-all-end-all action. When someone refers to a guard pass, they are referring to upwards of 5,6,7 (maybe more if you're a considerably higher belt, and if you're reading this I take it as a compliment) concepts and this is the crux of why it might be frustrating for you as a beginner to grasp passing the guard.
If it is indeed a series of actions to be taken, we will of course begin here with the opening or beginning of passing. I will direct you to a previous blog on breaking the guard here, whilst using you killer gorilla posture found here. After the guard break, your opponent will then move to react and counter your advances in passing their guard. Now this is where the "Bear Hunt" portion is put into action.
Gotta go under the guard.
Remember the old song We're Going on a Bear Hunt?
If not, it's essentially a children's song about heading out on an adventure and facing several obstacles that must be passed *wink* on the way. The version I am familiar with entails a hill that must be passed over, walls that must be passed around, a river that must be passed through, and a bridge that must be passed under. The song does so to the constant reiteration of "Can't go over it, can't go under it, can't go round it, gotta go THROUGH it!", and the order of how the obstacle needs to be passed - over, under, through, around - changes depending on the obstacle, or in this case, the guard.
If you can't see the metaphor, I am either sending you back into the frustration-flustration complex, or you need to bone up on your late 1980's children's literature.
Gotta go through the guard.
This is massive for your passing game if you can just identify the type of guard pass you should employ relative to the situation, instead of just forcing and hammering a pass that you Rote learned during technique and isn't the most appropriate for the scenario. I understand that in what I just said there is some assumed knowledge, that you need to learn at least 4 or so passes.
But again, how good is that!? You now can identify what passes you need to use as well as what passes you need to learn!
Gotta go 'round the guard
When you become more advanced at this opening stage of the guard pass you can begin to implement the passes you want rather than the passes most likely, by manipulating the responses of your guard playing buddy, and even learn to change passes on the fly. But for now start with the Bear Hunt concept and determine if you can go under, over, around, or through the guard. Next week we will focus on he next portion of the guard pass in learning to climb your opponent into a safe and secure, dominant position.
I'm Jake Anderson, and you've been wonderful.