There are many ways of passing the guard. The two main styles of passing the guard are quick passing and pressure passing. Each style of guard passes also has its own subsets. These subsets include going under the legs or over the legs.
Unfortunately, when you get trapped in your opponent’s closed guard these systems fail. You can’t do either kind of pass because you are not actually in a position to pass from.
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The phrase “passing the closed guard” doesn’t actually work well because you have to open the guard. When you open the closed guard, it is then when you end up in a position you can actually pass from. Instead of thinking of the closed guard as an offensive position, think of it as a defensive position like bottom side control or bottom mount. This will entice you to focus on getting out of there as soon as possible.
One tip I always give students is to not think of the closed guard as a position you can pass from. Rather, think about the closed guard as a position you need to escape first. After escaping, then you can pass. Also, just a reminder, don’t ever try to submit someone in their own closed guard, it never works.
When someone teaches you a closed guard pass, don’t think of it as one technique. Instead, think of it as two techniques, the first which is a guard break, and the second which is a guard pass. This will allow you to be more diverse and apply different guard breaks to use different passes.
In the following video, Leonardo Nogueira shows us how to use the Sau Paulo pass to open the closed guard and get to a dominant position. See below:
The Sau Paulo pass taught by Professor Nogueira is an excellent example of the concept I discussed above where you can consider a closed guard pass to be two techniques.
The first part of this technique is an advanced way of opening the closed guard the lands you in a position that is one you can actually pass from, half guard.
Another way you can finish this pass is by switching to a knee slice pass since you already have the under hook. All you have to do is get that shin of the leg that is trapped over the guard player’s thigh.
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