5 Standing Guard Pass Principles

The standing guard pass is generally my go-to pass, because for me as a guard player (person on the bottom) it was always more challenging to control the passer if my guard was open. Most people feel more comfortable with you in their closed guard, that way they can attack (sweep/submit) and the person on top (passer) generally has to open the guard first (foot locks) or pass the guard before attempting to attack. The biggest threat from a standing guard pass position is usually being sweep versus being submitted.  In a self-defense or fighting situation, standing allows you to disengage your opponent.

1)  Posture: in order to initiate a passing sequence of any kind, you have to always start with your head up and back straight.  Lately, I’ve begun to establish posture from a bladed or slightly sideways position. That way it is harder for the person on the bottom to pull me down.

2) Grips: Once you have good posture, next you have to get grips. The main goal here is to control the hips of the person on the bottom.  They are usually either trying to break you back down from posturing up or attempting to sit-up for a sweep or just to pull you back down into their chest in order to attack collar chokes.  My favorite standing control is the 2 on 1 grip basically both of my hands control one of their arms and I push into their belt line to support my weight and control their hips while standing.  You would control the same side you wish to initiate placing your first foot on the mat.  This prevents the person on the bottom from under hooking your leg to sweep you or setting up a submission (i.e. Omoplata) before actually standing up.

3) Balance The next element is balance! When you stand up keeping a bladed or slightly sideways position with one foot forward helps to prevent you from falling back to your knees. This makes it more challenging for the guard player to keep their legs closed as well, because being bladed puts you in a longer position.

4) Break:  I suggest the style of break you choose should require very little muscle.  The most common break would be to push down on the inside of the knee forcing the pushed leg to the mat.9294663

5) Pass: The final step once the guard is open is to attempt a guard pass. The main goal here as the Passer is to control movement (shrimping), which is the person on the bottoms means of creating space.

Some of the more common ways of controlling the hips are holding a leg down with the hand or knee. From there you would cross face (hug the head of your opponent) and finalize your pass into side-mount or full-mount.


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