BEGINNER BJJ - DEFEND THE GUARD PASS BY UNDERSTANDING THE GUARD PASS

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If you've read our gnarly post with an equally gnarly name " Einstein's Medieval Guide to Defending the Guard Pass" give that fellow a go here before soldiering on. 

Or if you are a bit more daring and don't need a bunch of context, bravo!

Essentially, the last blog combined Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity (which mean space and time are linked) and the metaphor that each of your frames in defending the guard pass are medieval weapons based on their length. 

Explained:

The further your opponent is from you (space), the longer it will take them to pass your guard (time). Thus giving you ample reactive cushioning to defend.

The way you keep them further away is your longest weapons - legs

If they get past your legs use your knees, then outstretched hands, then elbow frames.

If it goes beyond this, your guard is extinct. See below.

Today we're going to introduce to you an addendum, how do I actually stop them from getting past my useful, powerful, long legs?

There are two main schools of guard passing that will give you a spot of bother at the beginner level and they involve either:

  1. Outstretching your leg/s
  2. Compression your leg/s
    OR
  3. A combination of both! (Blue Belt stuff here!)

Let's go with the Torreando pass, that compresses then stretches out your legs and allows your opponent to circumvent them.

This pass actually uses both means of very basic guard passing which makes it very effective. 

In weightlifting terms, when your muscles are bearing pressure at the most loaded point of the movement, such as the bottom of a leg press, you are in what is called the "sticking point". For the pass, this is where the guard passer is the weight or resistance.

See below.

This little place is the hardest part of the movement as the muscles need to recruit a maximum force to get past this point and generate inertia to carry the resistance away. 

Conversely, the total opposite is when your legs are not loaded and are completely stretched out with no muscle activation at all, meaning they are limp and listless. For the guard pass, this is the motion of stretching out your legs and moving around them to pass. 

See the beginnings of the dynamic stretching out of the guard below.

The Torreando pass will firstly overload your legs with a high amount resistance and when your opponent anticipates the inevitable push from your legs, they will harness it and move like a bullfighter around your guard.

This is starting to sound like a tutorial on guard passing and not retention right?
Well, to be honest, it could be.

What you need to focus on as the guardian, is to keep your legs from being caught at the sticking point or having them completely outstretched. This may even mean bailing on the guard when you know you're being passed and performing damage control with a hip escape like above. 

If your legs are engaged in a midway fashion with your hips at the ready, you can begin to nullify the grips and angles your passing partner needs to bypass your open guard.

These are your longest weapons intended to be exactly that, long. 

 

Again, if these are passed you need to move down the hierarchy of weapons at your disposal based on length to retain or regain guard. This might seem small, but paired with "keep my legs out but not too much" and you'll be surprised at just how effective it is in its simplicity.

The core movements of passing need to be acknowledged so you know what you're up against.

So know your enemy, keep those legs engaged, and stay in the roll!

- Jake Anderson is a Bachelor of Sport Development and Mixed Martial Arts commentator with over 18 years of combined training in various Martial Arts and tertiary education in health & sport. 

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