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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

18 February 2015

18/02/2015 - Teaching | Half Guard | Opposite Side Pass

Teaching #281
Artemis BJJ (MyGym/Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 18/02/2015

Today I wanted to take a look at a pass Ed Beneville and Tim Cartmell refer to as 'inverted half guard' in their excellent book, which I first learned from Roger Gracie a few years ago. In Jiu Jitsu University, Saulo uses the term 'opposite side pass', which I think is easier to understand. 'Inverted' is mainly associated with being upside down in BJJ, so I'll stick with Saulo's nomenclature.

The orthodox method to pass the half guard is to get a similar 'super-hold' (as Xande calls it) as you would in side control, then use shoulder pressure to hold them in place as you bounce your leg free and slide through. That's what I taught earlier. With the opposite side pass, you're also trying to control their upper body. In Saulo's version of the pass, on p307 of his book, they already have an underhook. He therefore grips over the top of that underhooking arm, securing it by gripping the gi material by the small of their back.

Posting on his free hand, he then swings his free leg over, ending up sat next to them. He suggests grabbing their knee initially, then shifting to grabbing the far hip. If you prefer, you can grab the knee and maintain that grip, to prevent a counter they can try where they open their half guard then hook under your knee. They can then lift and drive through to the top position.

My personal preference is to start the pass by reaching under their head with the arm on the same side as your trapped leg. This may feel counter-intuitive, as normally that is the arm you would use to underhook, but that's because you're swinging over to the other side. This is effectively a cross-face on the opposite side, which you lock in fully once you're over to the other side, driving your shoulder into their cheek/jaw to prevent them turning their head towards you. It's also key that after swinging to the other side, you post firmly on your outside leg, angling the knee towards their body. This should stop them bridging into you and getting a reversal.

Finally, you need to extricate your trapped leg. The simplest approach is to push on their bottom leg with your free foot, extricating yourself from half guard and taking top side control. The problem with that is it reduces your base, so they might be able to capitalise and reverse you. Not to say it isn't possible, but it requires your cross-face to be really solid. A slightly safer option is to step the basing leg in front of their leg, using it as a wedge. That means it both blocks their movement but still provides you with base. Another possibility is pulling their leg towards you in order to help create the space to free yourself.

Teaching Notes: There is another option for this pass I can show, from the Beneville book, which I'll add in tomorrow. Chris had a good question at the end about how to counter this pass, which gave me a chance to go through the counter and recounter from the Beneville book. From playing around with it while Chris was on top, I found that getting an arm under their armpit and making a frame helped too. During sparring, I played with deep half, which was fun. I think that's definitely a useful addition (especially if you're using the arm shield half guard Braulio shows on EstimaInAction), but probably a bit advanced for the class at the moment. I might well show it next time I do half guard month though, depending what the student is like at that point. :)

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