Defense vs the Over-Under Guard Pass

The ‘over-under’ pass is a pressure-based technique for passing the guard which is used quite successfully in high level competition.  In part it’s a great pass because you don’t have to be particularly fast or nimble to pull it off.

When you’re on the bottom and defending this pass, however, life can really suck…

Not only is it an effective pass, but it’s a tiring one to defend.  You’re bearing all of your opponent’s weight, and he can gradually grind you down.  Your legs get tired, it gets hard to breathe, and your reactions get slower.

So if you spend any time on the bottom then you have to have a way to counter this pass!

I asked three time Olympian, Judo silver medalist, and BJJ black belt Travis Stevens how he defends this pass, and he ended up showing me a really cool defense using an unorthodox triangle choke technique (it’s a variation of the yoko-sangaku choke, the side triangle, which is often used by judoka to attack the turtle position).

I’ve had the pleasure of having this yoko-sangaku submission applied to me, and the pressure is horrendous!  But in the way Travis does it makes it even worse!

Here’s the video of Travis Stevens doing this exact over-under guard pass defense to me and breaking down how to do it.  Check it out!

If it helps you remember this move then here are the simplified steps as I broke them down for a post on my @stephan_kesting instagram feed.

As you can see, it’s critical to sneak your feet into the correct position, then push to create a bit of room and swing your top leg into the sangaku (triangle) position.  Once you’ve got your legs in position it’s all about manoeuvring your body to be able to generate maximum pressure and submission power!

A quick summary of how to defend against the over-under pass and counter with a triangle choke by @judosilencer Travis Stevens #grappling #nogi #sangaku #sangamujime #guardpasscounter #bjjtechnique #judotechnique #newaza #grapplingtechnique #grapplearts

A post shared by Stephan Kesting (@stephan_kesting) on Oct » Continue Reading.

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How To Find the High Percentage BJJ Techniques to Rely On

As a young martial artist I once debated whether a certain Kung Fu striking technique could actually work in a real fight.

To prove my point I mentioned that a bouncer I knew had successfully used that technique on a drunk in the bar the other night

The guy I was arguing with shut me down with a devastatingly simple rebuttal, “Yeah Stephan, that doesn’t prove anything, because ANYTHING will work on a drunk.

And he was right.

If a guy is drunk enough then you might just be able to land your spinning-flying-monkey-fist, or apply a standing aikido wrist lock against him.  But the fact that something worked once against an inebriated opponent is NOT proof of the intrinsic effectiveness of the technique.

The sad truth is that low percentage techniques like the spinning-flying-monkey-fist (or whatever) will occasionally work against inferior opponents, but then completely fail you against strong, sober and determined opponents.

If the monkey fist really worked then every boxer and MMA fighter in the world, motivated by the desire to knock his opponent out and collect the prize money, would be monkey-fisting in every fight against every opponent.

By contrast, high percentage techniques like the jab, cross, push kick and knee from the Thai clinch have been proven many times against high quality opponents in the ring and in the street. That means you can rely on them working more often and against a better quality of opponent.

BJJ techniques are much the same way.

There are techniques that will work against white and blue belts that will not work against higher belts. Or, if by some crazy fluke they catch a higher belt with it once, then you’ll never catch him with it a second time.

If you get tricked by your early initial successes with these novelty techniques and make them your bread and butter then you’ll end up down a major blind alley – you’ll waste months or years of your training time stalled out exploring some blind alley.

By contrast high percentage BJJ techniques work again and again.  In fact, if you refine them then they work even when your opponent is expecting them and is doing everything he can to shut them down.

To figure out the high percentage techniques the general rule of thumb is to look at what the high level guys are doing – if they’re doing it against the best black belts in the world then it’ll » Continue Reading.

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How to Stop the Double Underhooks Guard Pass

The double underhooks guard pass is one of the low passes you see most in high level competition.

It’s favored by big, strong dudes who love to smash people. Once they get your hips hoisted up and your body bent in half you feel pretty vulnerable. At that point they can pass your guard, take your back, move to the crucifix, or any number of horrible, nasty finishes.

So you’ve GOT to have an effective way to stop the double underhooks guard pass! The most effective way I’ve ever seen was shown to me by Rob Biernacki. It’s really simple, biomechanically sound, and doesn’t rely on being able to put both your feet behind your own head while benchpressing the equivalent of 400 lbs…

Step 1 is preventing the pass.  Rob does this by creating ‘frames’, which essentially means using the bones in your forearms to transfer your opponent’s force into the ground.  That way you’re using muscular force and tiring your arms out.

Step 2 is escaping the position.  Rob uses the single most powerful movement you can do with your body to create a good angle, and then strips the grips off of his legs relatively effortlessly.

It’s all explained much better in the video below, so check it out…

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Shutting Down the Guard Pass

It’s called ‘rolling’ for a reason: if you’re doing BJJ then you’re going to be somersaulting all over the place.  And there are three types of rolls that you encounter all the time on the mats: The forward roll, The backwards roll The side roll In the video below BJJ world champion Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins shows […]