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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

23 July 2014

23/07/2014 - Teaching | Open Guard | Bullfighter Pass (Variation)

Teaching #169
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 23/07/2014

I went with what I think is the most simple version of the bullfighter on Monday, but there are lots of variations. Monday's version was about moving backwards and pinning their legs to the mat. Tonight, the focus was driving forwards into them, after you've established your grips inside their knees. That should generate a reaction, as they will kick back. Direct that kick to your side as you step around. Saulo likes to open out their far leg while pulling their near leg across his body. That motion should swivel them in place for an easy pass. Even simpler, as you drive in and they react, fire their legs out to the side as you step around.

Alternatively, if they don't react, you can still pass after having driven their knees towards their chest. Thrust one leg forward, then step back, pulling the other leg with you. Drive that leg into the mat with a straight arm and your body weight, then pass around on that side.

To finish the pass there are two main options. Either you can drop your shoulder into their hip, falling forward like in Monday's version. If the position you're in doesn't lend itself to that, then simply moving into knee on belly may make more sense. Experiment with both: it will depend on the configuration of your body once you pass their legs.

Also, to keep mentioning this, the Artemis BJJ FREE women's class starts next week on Wednesday, 18:30-19:30 at Bristol Sports Centre! Hooray! Full details here.

Teaching & Sparring Notes: I wasn't certain which variation would be best to show tonight, so I had four or five in my head to play with. As it turned out, I ended up showing three. My intention was to go with the Saulo method of opening up the far leg then pushing the near leg across, then I found myself throwing in the other option where you fire their legs off to the side. During progressive resistance, some people were getting very low and having some problems finishing off the pass. I therefore added in yet another pass, as it seemed to fit well with that position.

It's one from the excellent Passing the Guard book by Beneville and Cartmell, in the standing passes section. If you've got that grip on the inside of the knees and you've dipped low, you may be able to hook your elbow under their leg. Lean into that leg, shoving the other leg to the mat. You can now move around their legs in a similar motion to underhook passes you might be familiar with when passing closed guard.

Another one I could have shown would be another Saulo option, where you start by grabbing the belt and putting your weight through that arm. Use our elbow to block their leg coming over for a lasso style spider guard. Your other hand is gripping their other leg. Lean on your belt arm, moving around, then when you feel the opportunity, shove their leg across with your trouser grip as you drop your shoulder into them to pass.

So, next time I'll try to stick with just one pass and see how that goes. It's difficult to overcome the compulsion to throw in more details, especially when it's an area I'm less confident about, like passing. Then again, it depends on the student: some people want more details. Saving them up for during drilling and the like is probably better though, instead of complicating the main demonstration.

I was able to fit in some sparring, which was cool. I kept things relatively light to give people a chance to practice the passes (although my open guard isn't great anyway), seeing if they would be able to block my legs as I attempted to circle them round. I managed to do a butterfly sweep from a random position, where I had my shins against theirs. I haven't really looked into the guard associated with that, but it worked well that time (although that was mainly just down to luck in terms of being in the right place).

There was some very nice passing movements going on, like Rafal's nifty backstep mid-pass to spin to the other side. I wasn't doing anything as swish as that on top, playing around with different movements, like that low percentage "shove their legs down and pop straight over to mount" move. Rather than smoothly moving into mount, I stepped right into a double-ankle grab sweep, which serves me right for being cheeky. ;)

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