How to Stop Your Opponent from Turtling During Your Guard Pass

Turtle Position

I was recently asked the following question: "Hi Stephan, My biggest problem on the mats right now is people turtling and going to their to knees when I'm about to pass their guard. Once they're in turtle they either roll back to guard or stand up and all the hard work I did to pass their guard is for nothing. … [Read more...]

No Gi Guard Passing Strategies vs. Bigger People

No Gi Guard Passing Strategies

Passing the guard in a technical manner during no gi training can often be very frustrating, especially for people coming from a gi-based background.  To the uninitiated it just seems that things move too fast... That there aren't any good handles to control your opponent... … [Read more...]

How to Counter the Backstep Guard Pass

countering the backstep guard pass

BJJ and submission grappling are in a continual state of evolution.  New techniques, tactics and strategies emerge, or are rediscovered, or are brought into the art all the time. The backstep guard pass is one such modern technique.  You won't see this guard pass in old-school BJJ … [Read more...]

How to Pass Deep Half Guard

how to pass deep half guard

In the last 5 years the Deep Half Guard position has taken the BJJ and submission grappling world by storm.  And every serious grappler now needs to know how to neutralize and pass the Deep Half Guard. This position is a variation of the half guard.  If someone manages to get settled into this position underneath you then they're right under your center of gravity, can compromise your balance, … [Read more...]

How to Defeat a Smaller Opponent

smaller opponent

Smaller opponents can become big nuisances, especially if they have legitimate skills. You would think that the very fact that you're bigger than your opponent means you should be able to go full-Conan on them every time... Mongol General: "Conan! What is best in life?" Conan: "To crush your enemies, see them driffen before you, and to hear the lamentation of their vimmen." … [Read more...]

A Fancy-Pants Z Guard Pass that Never Worked Until…

How to Pass the Z Guard

There's this one impressive, fancy-pants guard pass that I've seen in competition many times. It makes everybody go 'oooh' and 'aaaah', but despite its dramatic nature it's undeniably effective and has won a LOT of matches at the highest levels of competition. I tried to imitate this technique, of course, but it was always a complete disaster. I never managed to figure out exactly what these … [Read more...]

An Easy Way to Make Your Closed Guard Hard to Pass


I was recently watching an out-of-print instructional DVD by a friend of mine and had one of those really great 'aha' moments. It was a tweak that I can use to make my closed guard  much, much harder to pass. And also much more powerful when it comes to setting up attacks and sweeps. … [Read more...]

Passing the Guard in MMA


by Denis Kang and Stephan Kesting Originally published in Grappling Magazine, October 2005 Denis Kang knows all about passing the guard in mixed martial arts competition. He has fought in Japan and throughout North America, and has passed the guards of many good fighters, including Minoru Suzuki, Keith Rockel and Stephan Potvin. He knows that passing the guard is one of the hardest things to … [Read more...]