Use all your options when passing half guard

Use all your options when passing half guard: Half Guard passing represents perhaps the most high percentage and versatile method of passing your opponents guard in the sport. Use it well and use it often. Whenever you choose to use it, be aware that you can pass in three directions. First, to the same side as you initiate the pass. Second, straight up the middle to the mount. Third, across your opponents body to the far side. All three are highly effective and all three combine well with each other. Learning to use all three possible directions, especially in combinations, will make it very difficult for an opponent to stop you. Here, I have back stepped over to the far side to get into a particularly effective passing method that controls an opponents head while while creating great pressure by getting head and hips pointing in opposing directions. Make sure you have at least one trusted method of half guard passing for each of the three main possible directions of passing from half guard and you will soon find your passing game generating a lot more success for you!


I am very happy to announce the release today of my latest instructional video HALF GUARD PASSING AND DYNAMIC PINNING. As many of you know from watching my students, I am a huge advocate of forcing your way to half guard and using this a premier passing position due to the unique possibilities for the most important kind of control in Jiu jitsu - head control. This is probably the most versatile form of guard passing as it works equally well in Gi, no gi and MMA. It offers great opportunities to greatly increase your passing scores by passing directly to mount and it is fair to say it is the passing method that requires very little athleticism and no speed. A closely related topic is dynamic pinning. Pinning in Jiu jitsu is very different than other grappling arts. It offers the greatest point scoring potential in the sport getting mounted or rear mount scores double what a takedown or sweep scores with far less effort and athleticism required. At the same time it creates the kind of pressure and purposeful movement required to enforce your upper body submission game. If you are interested in the potential of these skills to help your game - check it out! Link in my Instagram bio

If you can’t get under ‘em...knock ‘em backwards

If you can’t get under ‘em...knock ‘em backwards: A big part of my approach to open guard situations is to get deep UNDER an opponent so that you can lift and elevate them into vulnerable position from which attacks often succeed. Any kind of lifting attack will require you to get UNDER AN OPPONENTS CENTER OF GRAVITY. Pretty soon opponents will figure that out and start backing away from you to prevent you getting under them. That’s when you must start adjusting the direction of your initial attack from UNDER and FORWARDS to BACKWARDS in the same direction as their defensive movement. Playing these two games against each other as a dilemma pairing will make you a very dangerous attacker from open guard.

The ultimate pressure pass - half guard

The ultimate pressure pass - half guard: There are two main methods of guard passing. The first is based on MOVEMENT. The idea is to move rapidly to an angle and close distance at a rate that your opponent can not keep up with. Good examples would be toreando passes, x passes, long step passes etc. Second, there are pressure passing methods based around the idea of STOPPING THE OPPONENT FROM MOVING. Good examples would be over/under passing, stack passing etc. The best form of pressure passing in my opinion, is HALF GUARD PASSING. The reason is that the pressure is usually applied directly to the HEAD AND SHOULDERS, which has the greatest effect of stopping movement in your opponent. CONTROL OVER THE HEAD IS THE SINGLE MOST SIGNIFICANT FORM OF CONTROL YOU CAN EXERT UPON THE HUMAN BODY. No other passing method offers such unrelenting and intimidating pressure as half guard passing. The main weapons at you disposal are a strong cross face or reverse cross face to control the head; and either a far side or near side underhook to control the shoulders. Look how Gordon Ryan, a truly devastating half guard passer, flattens out his opponent to set up his cross face and work towards an under hook on either side - then with direct control of the head and shoulders the pressure mounts very quickly indeed - leading to the kind of passing success you will need as you progress to the higher ranks!

Dynamic pinning

Dynamic pinning: Jiu jitsu has a very different conception of pinning from other grappling sports and learning to understand those differences is extremely important for your development and success. In most grappling sports pins are static and held for time and the pin itself can end a match. Once you get the pin there is no need to move, you just hold him in place for the specified time and it’s over. In Jiu jitsu a pin never ends a match. Moreover, not all pins score points. Side pins, north south pins are considered good and valuable, but score nothing. THE REAL REWARDS IN JIU JITSU COME FROM DYNAMICALLY MOVING FROM ONE PIN TO ANOTHER - THAT’s how you get big scores and set up submissions. Here, Nicky Rod has done a fine job of getting mounted - but you can see he is not satisfied with the static pin - he has loosened his feet as he isolates his opponents head and arm. This will allow dynamic transitions to other pinning positions to set up the submissions that he really wants. Learning to move from pin to pin WITHOUT GIVING UP SPACE AND LETTING AN OPPONENT ESCAPE is one of the most valuable and rewarding skills in the sport and is one of the key bridges between POSITION and SUBMISSION. It’s a wonderful thing to have a solid and secure static pin - that’s the first skill you must master in pinning - but you MUST go on to develop the real match winning skill of dynamic pinning, where you move smoothly from pin to pin. Only then can you use the unique characteristics of Jiu jitsu pinning to your advantage

Nicky Rod amplifies the pulverizing pressure of his top mount game

Here, Nicky Rod amplifies the pulverizing pressure of his top mount game by separating his opponents elbow from his torso to make a transition from pin to submission much more likely. Make this a habit every time you get to a pin and you will immediately find you are much harder to escape from, move more easily from one pin to another, and score a lot more upper body submissions

Don’t be satisfied with the mere act of pinning - go the extra distance and isolate his limbs away from the torso

Don’t be satisfied with the mere act of pinning - go the extra distance and isolate his limbs away from the torso: It’s good to get to a classic pinning position like mount, side or rear mount, but that won’t help much against a well trained and mentally tough opponent who knows his escapes. Once you get to a pin, the onus is one you to immediately work to get his arms separated from his torso so that you can:
1 - get even better control over your opponent by making escape considerably more difficult
2 - make the task of dynamically shifting from one pin to another (the best way to score big points in Jiu Jitsu) much easier
3 - bridge the gap between position and submission by isolating a limb in a way that make submission far more likely than simply waiting for an opponent to make a mistake.

You have to be able to perform your favorite moves under any conditions

You have to be able to perform your favorite moves under any conditions: Usually when we drill moves it is under ideal conditions. Our partner is not resisting, we’re in a comfortable position, breathing comfortably, normal orientation, skin dry - but when it’s time to do it for real; it’s almost always under FAR FROM IDEAL CONDITIONS. Upside down, exhausted, opponents skin slippery as an eel and resistance at maximum, often in ways you did not anticipate. That’s what sparring is for. Drilling gives you the outline and direction of what you are supposed to do, but only sparring will give you the tenacity, improvisational nuances, tightness etc that will make it work when the chips are down. Here, Garry Tonon practices his beloved heel hooks upside down as he rotated through three hundred and sixty degrees - just as is required in most realistic match situations. Of course most of of your drilling will be under ideal conditions - that’s normal and preferable when your start out m, but set some time to drill under non ideal conditions to, it will help when it’s time for sparring

Walk into any competition with confidence

If you can train yourself to survive any predicament in the gym, you can walk into any competition with confidence. Set some time to subject yourself to the stress of bad positions and situations. Staying calm and composed under stress is a skill that can be learned like any other, but you will never learn it if you are always the hammer. Take some time to feel what it’s like to be the nail. The more you do that in the gym the less you’ll need it on the stage

The worst arm bar in the entire history of arm bars

YOU! Yes you...that was the worst arm bar in the entire history of arm could go back in a time machine to feudal Japan and observe in fast forward all the arm bars performed since the thirteenth century and you would not see a more feeble attempt at an arm bar than that one! You couldn’t arm bar a sleeping, drunk one armed man with that miserable technique! #positivereinforcementFTW