If you have been doing BJJ for any length of time you have asked yourself this question! Rickson Gracie once said, “the guard is the heart and soul of jiu jitsu”. If you haven’t already noticed, the guard is where you’ll be spending most of your time on the mat. Whether you are fighting off your back or trying to pass, the guard is one of the most intricate and in-depth positions in the art of jiu jitsu.
For famed BJJ instructor John Danaher, the best way to pass the guard is to force a half guard which is the easy part, and then focus on passing the guard from there.
This makes prefect sense, when you are battling an opponent with a superior open guard, they will not typically expect you to freely enter into their half guard. It’s important to not enter into their knee shield half guard, because that it is a very hard guard to pass. The best is to put your opponent flat on their backs, and enter their half guard with a hip to hip position and with at least one underhook and work yor way from there.
Sometimes, no matter how good your guard passing is, your opponent will be able to at least get a leg in-between themselves and yourself. So, you’ll have no other sensible option but to establish Half Guard – though you’ll have to do it on your own terms.
“On my own terms?” Yup, that’s exactly right.
Here’s why you need to do it like that, as well as how to do it, as explained by Gordon Ryan:
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