My current favorite style of guard passing is called ‘tripod passing.’ This style of passing has been used with great success in gi, no gi, and MMA competition.
Turning yourself into a giant stable tripod above your opponent when you’re passing has several huge advantages. For example you can…
1) Put a TON of pressure on your opponent if you want,
2) Deny him the ability to put you in meaningful guard, and
3) Makes yourself super stable and hard to budge on top.
Here’s a great breakdown of the tripod position by Rob Biernacki from the Guard Passing for Old F***s instructional…
More Details on Tripod Passing
The first person to start using this extensively was probably Demian Maia in the UFC. Below is just one of the many times Demain Maia has used the tripod position to set up his guard passes in MMA.
After nullifying the bottom man with the tripod position Demian then combined strikes and guard passes to make life hell for the guy on the bottom.
(There’s a great breakdown of Maia’s MMA guard passing by BJJ scout on Youtube here by the way.)
This pass isn’t just for MMA though. A good recent example comes from ADCC 2022 when Gordon Ryan using tripod passing to staple Andre Galvao to the mat before passing his guard, getting to mount, and taking his back.
To get into the tripod position you need to achieve 3 things…
- Your opponent needs to be flat on his back
- You need have one of your legs between his thighs
- And (ideally) your knee penetrates past the level of his thighs
Once you achieve the leg position you fold forward, block his armpits/biceps with your hands, and rest your head on his chest area. The only danger here in the gi is the loop choke, so don’t go diving in if he’s got a cross collar grip (break that grip first before proceeding)!
(In competition you can go full ‘Pez-dispenser’ mode on your opponent and drive with your head, but in training be gentle; you don’t need a ton of pressure to keep your opponent flat on the floor).
From this position you can follow up with a variety of guard passes. Depending on your opponent’s reaction you might use the toreando pass, x pass, knee cut, far knee cut, or switch to other passing positions like the wall (where you put your back towards your opponent and quarter turn towards his legs.
Honestly, once you’re in a solid tripod position the guard passes pretty much present themselves. Your opponent doesn’t really have many good options, and anything he does will give you a new route to side control or directly to mount.
More High Efficiency Guard Passing for High Mileage Grapplers
Tripod passing is a favorite guard passing approach used by both Rob Biernacki and myself. Which is why we were very happy to include it in our latest instructional, Passing the Guard for Old F***s. But we also covered many other techniques, tactics, and training methods.
This instructional is available in DVD, online streaming, and app formats, and is guaranteed to help you stay relevant on the mats despite your high-mileage body.