March 29, 2012

Spotlight on Technique: Guard Passing

“To stand or not to stand?” that is the question that Bill Shakespeare should have been asking! When it comes to passing the guard practitioners often ask which is more preferable – standing or kneeling. A crude classification of Brazilian jiu jitsu guard passing would be to divide this aspect of the art into either standing or kneeling passes. Each have their strengths and their weaknesses.

Case: Kneeling in your opponent’s guard makes you a little harder to sweep because your center of gravity is lower to the ground and it is quite difficult for him to foot or leglock you.  However, if you are kneeling in an opponent’s guard your arms and neck are more easily available for him to attack.

Case: Standing in order to pass the guard you make yourself a little more vulnerable to sweeps and leglocks.  The advantage of standing passes is that you  are more mobile and it is harder for your opponent to attack you with chokes and armlocks.

How can you use this information then? Simple. Do both! If you have both standing and kneeling guard passes in your repertoire you can tailor your passing to counter your opponent’s strengths.  Does your opponent specialize in chokes? Is he an afficianado of armlocks? Then stand whenever you end up in his guard and try to work your standing guard passes.  If your opponent is a leg locking wizard or sweep machine then consider passing his guard on your knees.

Practice this concept and be adaptable! Learn to use them both and choose the appropriate approach for the situation and watch your success rate of passing the guard climb!