How to Pass the Guard in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
There are many variations of the guard position in BJJ, and the number is increasing as a result of the art’s culture of innovation. Sometimes though you have to take a step back and make sure that you don’t miss the forest for the trees.
That's why this article was written. The intent is to give you a basic conceptual overview of guard passing, and it is geared towards white belts. I hope it aids you in speeding up your trajectory towards mastery.
Example of a Tight Pass (Wilson)
Neutralize the Hips
At a fundamental level, you have to accomplish one of two things to pass the guard. You either have to quickly move past your opponent’s hips or you have to control their hips and smash through their guard.
These are the two categories that encompass all passes.You can use one or the other, but it is more effective to blend the two.
These are passes that fall into that first category of quickly moving past the hips. They depend on speed and agility, and generally they are useful when your opponent is playing open guard and you are standing.
There are three leverage points that can be focused on to establish some control over the hips. They are the ankles, the knees, and hip itself. Now the situation dictates which of those three areas should be focused on, but ultimately the goal is the same. Control must be established.
Fundamentally, tight passes work by pinning the hips to one side, and then either through the space or pressure passing to the side opposite the direction of the hips. The pass starts and finishes with control, and the hips are the focus.
Control the Head
Biomechanically, the body cannot rotate in the direction opposite the way that the head is facing. So another concept to think about is controlling the head since it can make passes more effective.
An example of that are knee cuts from top half guard which is a tight pass. By using your shoulder to rotate the head away from the direction you want to pass, the pass becomes significantly more difficult to stop.
How to Think About Concepts
There are countless numbers of techniques when it comes to passing and learning them all is a life long journey. The thing is that there are common elements that bind the techniques together, and that is the concept for why they work. This is just a brief overview of some passing concepts, but when you understand the concept you can apply it across the spectrum and improve that much quicker.
I've had the pleasure of attending one of Pedro Sauer, and his knowledge is extraordinary. Take advantage of that knowledge by reading this book and improving your technique.