Standing Guard Passing- The 3 Rules

Look! A new blog post… No I’m not dead. I haven’t updated the blog in a while. It’s been difficult because I have a number of different projects going at once right now. I’ll continue to update as I can but I’m thinking it won’t be as often as I used to.

I want to look at passing guard from standing in this post. It’s something that I haven’t been great at. When I was coming up in the ranks everybody was passing guard from the knees. Standing passes didn’t happen until competitions got more popular. I’ve been looking at standing passes lately from a posture and pressure perspective and want to share some posture tips today. It’ll take the form of 3 rules.

Rule 1- Primate Posture or Squat Posture.

This posture I got from John Kavanagh who runs SBGi Ireland. Thanks John! I hope I’m doing the posture justice. He talked about it during a session at our Spring Camp held at SBGi Montana last month. When John described the posture (Primate Posture) it looked a whole lot like proper squat posture. Think about what your posture would look like when squatting a barbell. Either the primate or squat analogy works. Use whatever one makes more sense you you.

Both images above essentially show the same posture. It’s a bit difficult to maintain as you are working to pass but it really is worth it. I’ve been experimenting with it since John showed it at camp and I just don’t get swept when I maintain good posture.

Here's the posture. Gorilla or squat posture.

Here’s the posture. Gorilla or squat posture.

Same posture from a squatting down position.

Same posture from a squatting down position.

Rule 2- Bottom Guy Can’t Touch Both Your Legs

This rule is huge. If you adhere to this one strictly you will be a lot of trouble from the top. Watch guys roll and you’ll see that when the guard player touches both legs of the passer then bad stuff happens. Prioritize this. Keep your elbows close to your hips but use your hands to keep the bottom guy’s hands and feet off your back leg.

You should never let your feet get paralell because the bottom guy will have easy access to both your legs. Keep one in front and one behind. The exception to this is if you have a hand and foot tied up on one side you can bring that leg up because the bottom guy won’t have a way to touch it.

Keeping the back leg safe here. Don't get your feet paralell unless you've tied up the guard player's hand and foot on that side so they can't get to it.

Keeping the back leg safe here. Don’t get your feet paralell unless you’ve tied up the guard player’s hand and foot on that side so they can’t get to it.

Rule 3- Pressure Leg and Steering Leg

Your legs need to do more than just move you around. They need to be actively working to get you in a position to pass. In order to accomplish this they need to be doing 2 separate jobs.

Pressure Leg

Your lead leg is the pressure leg. It’s job is to find the hip and apply pressure to it. Drive with the knee towards the hip. This will give you a small amount of hip control. The person controlling the hip is always the person who is winning in BJJ.

Steering Leg

Your back leg is the steering leg. It’s job is to create angles. Use it to pivot as you find the best angle of attack. Keep it far enough away that the guard player can’t catch it. It’s possible to switch your legs up as you move. Keep your posture though.

That’s really it for posture. If you watch the video below I go over everything above and add in a few extras like killing butterfly hooks and De La Riva guard. The audio and video get out of sync towards the end of the video and I didn’t have time to fix. Sorry. Just focus on my posture and not my head for the last part. 🙂

Video of Concepts (10 minutes Long)

One Comment

  1. Very glad to see more post from you. I always find your concept vids so much more valuable than the usual “move of the day” variety.

    I really like your anti-DLR step outside the hip and pressure in. Any thoughts on how to deal with DLR when the bottom guy holds your heel and tries to sit on your foot (what I think of as “traditional” DLR)? I can work it out, but would love your take.


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