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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

19 August 2019

19/08/2019 - Teaching | Open Guard | Passing Basics

Teaching #896
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 19/08/2019

The most significant difference in my passing success came from posture. I find that developing a 'safe' method to approach the open guard helps a lot with passing. Drop into a low squat, keeping your feet at the opposite corners of an imaginary square, shuffling forwards towards them. Your head should never go in front of your knees, keeping your head up the whole time. As soon as you look down, that breaks your posture: use your peripheral vision and touch to establish passing grips instead.

The control point framework from John Palmer applies here too. The primary control points (line of the hips, triangle of head and shoulders) are too far away, which leaves you with secondary (knees) and tertiary (ankles, potentially wrists) control points instead. Press in tight to the back of their knee, aiming to take away the space they need to start setting up open guard.

If you can't get in tight, you can try to control their ankles instead, then move in from there. Grabbing their toes and/or feet can work too, or alternatively grabbing their hands. The downside is that occupies your limbs: ideally, you want to prevent their mobility by pressing in and using your hips and pressure instead, leaving your hands free to help your pass.

Once you've successfully pressed in, that sets up a good position to begin your pass. The same position could also be used to try and attack with kneebars, depending on your preference.

Teaching Notes: On what I've got so far, I can emphasise a right angle in the legs, keeping the head up, and getting your bum down. As low a crouch as possible, with the key goal being to take away their space. That fits nicely with John Palmer's control point framework. In this case, the primary control points are all too far away, but you can press into the knees.

They want to control your knees and ankles too, as that's also what they can reach. You therefore need to prevent that: keeping your knees inside theirs both stops them getting your knees, while at the same time you have some control over THEIR knees. Then it's a matter of using your hands to manipulate that position, pushing their knees, ankles etc to gain control. Keep in mind they can do the same to you, though.

Applying gravity, you can also try to pin down the hips. To get to those control points, you need to climb the ladder of their legs, Sometimes you have to start with the feet, but ideally you can get straight to the knees and start climbing from there. First primary control point to reach is the line of the hips, then you'll keep moving up to try and get the head.

I'm not sure there is enough here to be a class at the moment, so I can add in more details. I very much like emphasising the crouch, but a few more pieces would be handy. For example, kicking the leg out when they grip, that kind of thing. More emphasis on posture, dealing with the kind of things the person on the bottom might do. I could add in the squishing of the legs, Christian style? Or turn it into a modified version of how Christian teaches 'head over butt' in general, but with a clearer, more concise structure?

Teaching Notes: Just showing the crouch and stalk doesn't feel like enough, needs some other details. I could try things like removing grips, like kicking foot free, bringing hips under head to get a strong stance against a collar grip? That would be worth testing more, what to do against a really strong collar grip? I rely on posture, but also important to talk about grip breaks?

Another thing that could be useful is some kind of pass on the end, but it would be good to keep it as a maintaining kind of class if I can.

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