I’ve been playing about with this guard pass for the last couple of weeks, and it has changed my jiujitsu – it could change yours too.
One of the things I love about Brazilian Jiujitsu is the individuality of it – you’re encouraged to find your own signature moves and perfect them. What works for one person, won’t necessarily work for another. Marcelo Garcia has his X Guard system, the Miyao brothers have the Berimbolo and Bernardo Faria has his over/under guard pass, and that’s what I want to talk about here.
Bernardo Faria, a three time world champion, has been doing his trademark guard pass ever since he was a junior in jiujitsu, so over the years he’s got very, very good at it. So good, in fact that he has turned what most people consider an irrelevant, old school guard pass into something that works at the highest levels of jiujitsu against world class competition.
Here he is using the over/under guard pass successfully against Leandro Lo:
BJJ is a big subject, so I’ve only recently found my game taking me in a direction where I need investigate his over/under guard pass, and I have to say I’m impressed with the simplicity and the depth of it. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s changed my BJJ for the better. If, like me, you like techniques that you can really get your teeth into then I think you’ll love it to.
One pass – many applications
The interesting thing about the over/under guard pass is that once you get a feel for it, it starts to feel more like part of a system than a stand-alone guard pass. While most guard passes are quite opportunistic in nature, working best when particular situations present themselves, you can actually strategise the over/under guard pass to work in almost any situation, regardless of what your opponent does. So, with slight variations you can use it against butterfly/situp guards, closed guard and open guards. It’s also a position you can end up in relatively easily after performing a sweep. With this in mind it pretty soon starts to feel like a guard passing system, rather than just a guard pass.
Another thing I like about the over/under guard pass is that it looks a lot like Demian Maia’s guard passing methods that he uses at the highest levels in MMA, but more of that later. First let’s take a look at how you do it.
Bernardo has a DVD covering his over/under guard pass system, so that should be your first port of call if you really want to master it, and all the variations, but you can piece the basics together from his free YouTube clips.
The basic method is always the same –
- Position: You first get in the over/under position, at an angle, and put your body weight into their abdomen via your shoulder.
- Adjust: You then walk back to the centre – you line yourself up, so they can’t hip escape away.
- Pass: Then control the leg with your grip and step over it before taking side control –
It’s the setups that change, depending on the type of guard you are dealing with. Let’s take a look at them.
So, from closed guard you need to first stand and open the guard. Here is a video of Bernardo doing it from the closed guard:
Faria uses a pretty standard guard opening, but the detail is that at the first opportunity he drops onto the leg, so he can quickly get into his trademark over/under position. And from there, the rest is easy.
From open guard he has a neat trick of putting both hands on the mat and getting a double under position first, before upgrading to the over/under position. Here he is doing it from the open guard:
The detail about putting both hands on the mat to get the double under position is great. I’ve been trying this whenever somebody sits back to play guard on me and it works a treat.
Of course, things don’t always go to plan, so here’s a variation Faria uses when they get a good sleeve grip to spoil the position.
As always happens when you do something over and over, you start to find new possibilities. From the over/under position Faria has a great knee bar submission that will catch people by surprise, turning a guard pass into a submission. Here he teaches the details:
Let me finish by positing a video of one of the most exciting BJJ matches ever – Bernardo Faria vs Marcus Buchecha. Here you also get to see the other famous parts of Faria’s game – his Z guard and deep half guard sweeps. Enjoy!