Passing Guard Concepts (diary entry)

XGuardThe fifth of my client’s 10-lesson course in submission/ground-fighting for martial arts cross-training looked at guard passing. Training began with our usual warm-up of exercises to promote better mobility and awareness of fighting from the ground position. This included the various crawls and snaking/shrimping movements as well as core strengthening exercises that revolved around triangle entanglement with the legs and hip movement from the guard.

We then revised the three basic leg submissions from closed guard – arm-bar, omaplata (shoulder-lock) and leg triangle choke. These were each then revised through muscle memory exercises, encouraging the fighter to move their hips correctly. Hip and core body movement are the principles behind most submission fighting and I believe that once this is trained correctly, the fighter only has to readjust within context to execute a good technique or combination of techniques.

Moving onto the subject matter of this lesson, we addressed the three basic concepts of passing a guard within submission grappling. A fighter can pass through a guard, under a guard and around a guard. We covered examples for all three. Passing through a guard is perhaps the most specific when we are dealing with the closed guard, so we spent the most time on this tactic. Here the fighter pins his opponent’s hips whilst pushing his own hips back and arching his back in order to break the guard hold. From here he moves to combat base in order to start passing through. All the while he keeps control of his opponent’s legs so that they cannot recover an operational guard position. Going under and around a guard were addressed using stacking tactics and standing up in guard. These areas were then drilled put under progressive pressure. We also covered defending them all and then reinforced this defence with some muscle memory exercises.

This section was completed with some functional fitness exercises. I advised the frog-jump, the frog-jump/kettle bell swing combination and the explosive bicep curl as all ways to train the right force vectors used when aiming to pass guard. A fighter needs to be able to move to his feet with his hips forward as quickly and efficiently as possible. All three of these exercises work the explosive element and overload the motions used to execute this tactic.

We then returned to the top position and covered the Americana arm-lock. This seemed like a reasonable follow up to passing guard. This arm-lock is a very simple and effective technique that works well from side control and the full mount position.

Good series of options from the combat base pass:

Nice variation on going through the guard:

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