Passing half guard – head control: The final stage of most forms of guard pass is to get control of the head and shoulder. In most cases you begin by passing the feet, knees, hips and then finally getting a hold of the head to complete the pass. Half guard passing is very different. In this case you usually get past one knee and then get control of the head and shoulders – THEN you go to extract your trapped leg and pass the guard. The great advantage of half guard passing is that is enables you to control the head PRIOR to the pass rather than as the COMPLETION of the pass. This creates unusual amounts of control and pressure as you pass. Here you can see Gordon Ryan, a true master of half guard passing, exert eye popping pressure on a training partner as he goes to work passing half guard. Though the head is the primary control – don’t neglect the shoulders – this usually done through some form of underhook – here Gordon Ryan has selected double underhooks, a particularly devastating form of control. Take advantage of the unique character of half guard passing to create the kind of match winning pressure you will need to pass the best guards in the gym.

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