Continuing my series of lesson-by-lesson reviews of the instrucional videos that are available from the CageFilm website.
Lesson 3: GUARD PASS VARIATIONS
The full title of this episode is “Effective guard pass control – Concepts of passing the guard”. The file is 570MB and runs for 49mins. Before showing us guard passes Braulio begins by briefly demonstrating the variety of guards available once the top guy has successfully opened your closed guard. These include De la Riva, spider guard, half guard and deep half guard. Braulio postulates that in order to pass the guard, you need to understand how those guards work in the first place, and then work to break down the areas where your opponent can control you.
Chapter 1: Guard passing concepts
Braulio begins this chapter by reviewing his standing up in closed guard technique from lesson 1. Only now, he adds a neat little variation – the cross grip and reach behind. Here Braulio plants his hand on his own buttock, which creates enough leverage to pop open the closed guard (pic below).
Braulio now takes us through tips on breaking down each control point that the opponent is using when applying a De la Riva guard. For example, by pointing your own knee outwards, it negates the control that your oppoent has when he wraps his lower leg behind your knee. Braulio also points out that since your opponent really wants to place his free leg on your hip, by grabbing the ankle yourself, the second part of his De la Riva guard is neutralised.
Braulio stops for a few moments to deliver a very interesting concept. He suggests that if you are better at passing a certain type of guard over and above other types, then you actually tempt your opponent by giving him an angle or limb to make him perform that particular type of guard. For example, if you like passing De la Riva guard, you post out your leg to the front and tempt your opponent to move into De la Riva guard, thus allowing you try your favourite pass. I found this idea intriguing – a sort of jiu-jitsu carrot and stick!
Something I mentioned in my previous review was the way that Braulio offers motivational thoughts. Here, he advises us to pass the guard by remaining calm and not rushing the technique.
It is clearly something he has seen a thousand times from students everywhere – the single minded pursuit that focuses only on the end position, at risk of losing all the necessary control points in the middle. And the most important control point is the stage during the guard pass where you must control the opponent’s hips – he uses his toreano pass (pic below) as an example. Braulio assures us that once the hips of the opponent are under tight control, sooner or later, the pass will happen.
Braulio then picks up the De la Riva again and uses this to demonstrate what he means by winning the many ‘mini-battles’ that occur whenever two fighters engage in guard vs passing. He shows how his posture and control points (as explained above re the knee and grabbing the ankle) mean that you are in a very safe position where your opponent cannot do much to attack. Braulio then quickly runs through several pass variations.
An interesting section on how the De la Riva pass transitions to the spider guard is discussed and how, of course, the relevant counters and passing attempts are also related. This brief segment is of most interest to me. The problem with most instructionals is that despite the myriad of techniques shown and the quality of the exponent, they can never really translate perfectly whenever you try them out on the mat. That is because in the to and fro of sparring, every technique has a counter and defence and the ability to smoothly transition from one to another is what marks out a really good player – something that I and everyone else aspires to be. So for Braulio to show the tit-for-tat nature of attack, defence and attack again, using De la Riva and spider guards as an example, is very useful to witness.
Back to the concept of setting up your opponent with your desired guard (to pass), Braulio quickly shows how to end up in your opponent’s open guard whereby one of his legs is caught between your body and his. Again, Braulio shows that by controlling the hips, the next stage, actually passing, is simple.
Braulio finishes this chapter by reviewing his guard passing concepts. The actual passes he shows were done quickly without too much detail as these will be covered in full in a later episode. The most important concept I gathered is the idea of setting up your opponent to use a guard that you personally are more comfortable dealing with.
Chapter 2: guard passing drills
Braulio demonstrates a few partner assisted drills to help practise dealing with the De la Riva guard, defence attemtps to a toreano pass and spider guard.
I guess if you like your instructionals to be very technique-based, then this video offers less bang per buck than episode one or two. But in my view, anyone trying to improve their game on a more tactical and strategic level, as opposed to a spoonfeed me level, then the concepts discussed here are very beneficial.
I would never have thought to play with the idea of tempting your opponent to go for a specific guard type. I just assumed that whenever you try to pass, your opponent is in control of which guard position he uses. Braulio has now made me think a bit differently.
Other Braulio lessons: