One of the biggest reasons for my success as a guard passer is actually in the process of which I execute my guard passes! Every single guard pass is governed by three primary fundamental laws. Which is very simple when looking from the outside.
- Pass the legs. Removing any danger from the legs and passing them completely.
- Closing the distance. Separating your opponents knees from his chest and placing yourself somehow in between that space in a way in which he cannot escape your control.
- Secure the control. Nullifying he's attempts to create space, and or roll away, completing the pass.
But what you will find is most grapplers go through this process in that order! Passing the legs, then trying to close the distance and eventually attempting to secure the control.
The problem here, is that it's very obvious to your opponent what you're doing!
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You and your opponent only have a certain amount of focus in which you can apply to any one area at one time! So what your opponent does is spends his focus on defending or attacking with his legs, while you spend yours trying to pass!
Then eventually if you are able to pass the legs, you switch your focus to closing the distance! (Usually by securing a knee ride, or chest to chest control) but what happens is when your opponent feels that his legs are in danger of being passed, he switches his focus to defending step 2 closing the distance (Usually by pushing you away, creating space to hip escape and recover guard). When this happens it can make it extremely difficult to close the distance. And even if you succeed, it will usually be so sloppy it allows your opponent escape or roll at the last minute avoiding the guard pass.
As you can see the problem here lies in the telegraphy of the process! It's hard to hit a fly that's watching you!
What you need to do is attack him where he least expects it! In this video I show you examples of how to do this by changing the process in which you execute any guard pass!
When you start passing someone's guard you need to understand his mindset, know what he's thinking. When you first engage your opponents guard, he will be focussed on Step 1: his legs! He wants to make sure you can't pass them. What you want to do is actually spend the minimum required focus on passing and defending his legs (enough so you don't get swept or submitted but no more), and spend the rest of it on Step 2: closing the distance! (usually by securing grips to his upper body. This can be in the form of an under hook, a deep cross face, some lapel grips for an eventual knee ride).
The reason why this is so effective is because your opponent wont care or focus on what you're doing. Because his legs are in no danger (or perceived danger), so he feels comfortable letting you execute Step 2. But what he doesn't realise is that by letting you secure Step 2 before you secure Step 1 allows you the freedom to attack an area in which he is not defending yet. Making it extremely easy to set up.
Once you've secured Step 2, you will then be able to redirect your focus to step 1, which contrary to popular belief is actually the easiest part of guard passing.
By the time he feels his legs are in danger of being passed, he won't have the chance to defend step 2, because you have already secured it! Making it impossible for him to create space. This will also create a stressful environment for your opponent knowing now he's only chance is at step 3: escaping or rolling away. But since his concentration was on step 1 when you executed step 2 tightly, he will have a very small chance of escaping your control, giving you the guard pass!
This strategy is one of deception and has allowed me to pass some of the best guards in the world!
All sport is about deception, and the sooner you apply concepts like this one to your game the more success you will start to have!
I know this may come across a little confusing, which is why I explore this far more in depth in my newest product Kit Dale's Guard Passing Masterclass.
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