It’s can be a real pain to pass the guard of an extremely flexible guard player. Typically these are young punks throwing hooks at you from every direction… strange and unorthodox submissions… legs that always manage to pop back into play no matter what you do.
One of the best things you can do against flexible players is to stack them.
Drive their feet to the floor above their head. From this inverted pretzeled position you’ve taken their legs out of play and now you can work to pass the guard more safely.
The idea is that we don’t want to allow people to establish a guard they feel comfortable in. Instead we want to take them out of their comfort zone and force them into a passing position where we have all the good options.
Here’s a great video from Guard Passing for Old F***s showing you exactly how to stack flexible players and two different guard passes from the stack position. These techniques work in both gi and not gi so check it out!
Here’s a bit of an overview of what’s discussed in the above video…
The Basic Stacking Position
To get your opponent into this position come under their ankles, lift their legs, and drive those legs to the ground up above their heads. Your hands initially start under their heels and then migrate to the back of their knees once their feet are on the floor..
This position is often easier to get on flexible players because they often like to start playing guard flat on their back with their legs elevated, legs waggling like the antennae of a large beetle.
They’re essentially daring you to come into their guards where they’ll try to wrap you up and establish a dominant guard position. Step in, take those elevated legs, and drive them up and over into the stack.
Then use one of the two passes below to pass the guard…
The Classic Stack Finish
After you’ve driven your opponent’s legs to the floor you’re going to maintain him in that position by dropping your chest onto his butt and bringing one of your knees to his lower back to function like a kickstand.
(Using your knee to limit the movement of his hips is an application of the Caging the Hips concept that shuts down so much offensive techniques from the guard).
Once you have him held in place bring one of your arms under his leg and control his far collar (in the gi) or the far side of his neck (in no gi) and slowly, slowly, slowly drive forward until you get past his legs.
Don’t rush the finish here; the longer you ‘cook’ him in this contorted position the less energy he’ll have to escape the pin or fight your submission.
Note the stack pass is also known as the smash pass, and has been one of my favorites for a long time!
The Leg Drag Finish
To use a stack pass you need to sneak your arm under his leg and across to the far side of his neck. But sometimes there just isn’t the room to get your hand that deep.
That’s where the leg drag comes in!
Instead of going under his left leg with your right hand reach across and control that same leg with your left hand. Grip the pants (in the gi) or the ankle (in no gi). Then pull it across across and safely shelf it on you left hip to achieve the leg drag position.
The basic finish from here is to circle to your opponent’s back and pass the guard, but there are many other ways to finish the leg drag for the advanced player. The leg drag is a deep position that is worth adding to your repertoire.
MORE GUARD PASSING
The Toreando guard pass (aka the Matador pass) is a very powerful way to pass the guard in gi jiu-jitsu and no gi submission grappling.
But the Toreando can be confusing to learn, in part because there are so many different ways of doing it. Here’s my video and article breaking down the 5 major variations of the Toreando guard pass along with a bit of the historical context of each variation.
The leg drag is a modern addition to the world of guard passing in BJJ. It was popularized by world class competitors like the Mendes Brothers among many others.
And if you spend even a little bit of time competing or watching major tournaments you will notice this style of pass being used successfully in every weight division, from white belt up to world champion black belt.
By learning how to do this pass yourself you’ll automatically develop a better understanding of how to shut it down when you’re on the bottom.
BJJ for Old F***s, the Passing Game is volume is dedicated to giving older grapplers the techniques, strategies, and training methods they need to pass the guard of any opponent and stay effective on the mats.
In this instructional you’ll first get the critical concepts for passing the guard as an older guy so that you can smash those younger players while staying safe. Then you’ll get 5 complete strategies for passing the guard, including the setups, followups, and finishes. Four of these strategies work equally well gi and no gi (we did include one that’s a little more gi-oriented).