It is common knowledge that to become good at BJJ, you must train more BJJ. While our time on the mats is super important, working on the different areas to work on, such as our weaknesses, and constantly drilling techniques until they become second nature, are some of the best and most proven ways to one-up your game. As the famous saying in martial arts goes – drillers make killers. Today, we will discuss six guard passing drills to help improve your BJJ.
6 Essential Guard Passing Drills
The primary goal in grappling is to be the grappler on top. When on top, you must have the ability to control the opponent to stay on top and secure the dominant position you’re holding them with. While getting on top and staying on top are two different skills, below are six guard passing drills you can study to get past the sticky guard of your opponents.
1) Toreando Drill
The toreando drill will help work on your mobility and ability to use the toreando pass, as well as connect it with other guard passes. Start with your training partner cross-legged and apply your grip on their outside knee. While doing the drill, lift your heels to build speed when switching. Doing so puts your weight on your training partner, allowing you to move lightly to the sides as you switch to the toreando pass.
After establishing the grips, press a little forward and do a couple of side steps, changing to hip height. As you step, walk to the side cross-legged. After passing to one side, reset and return to the middle to perform on the other. Perform the drill until the movement becomes second nature.
2) Leg Drag
Start with your partner in the open guard position with their legs up and knees bent. Having a good standing stance and assuming you’re passing on the left side, grab the outside of their knee using your left hand, not on their ankle, as the opponent may still use their hips to create an angle. While grabbing their outside knee, use your other hand (right hand) to establish a cross grip on their heel.
Step your left foot outside in line with the opponent’s hips, and at the same time, as you drag their leg across, step in with your right leg (leg drag leg) and shove their leg over your right hip. You can use your right hand to grab their hip, bicep, or collar for control while your knee is pointed in. As you become more efficient with the movement, perform your reps faster without sacrificing balance.
3) Hip-Pin Toreando
Starting from open guard, maintain a good passing stance. Assuming you’re passing to your left side, go in with your lead leg (right leg) and pin the opponent’s far hip with your right hand to the side to block their leg and hip. Use your left hand to grab the inside of the opponent’s near knee to pin it.
Move your weight forward near their hips and start circling to your left side. Once you’re to the side, drop your left shoulder on the opponent’s chest and push their near knee down with your left hand to move it out of the way. After dropping, move to the leg drag position, let go of the grips, and control the opponent’s hips to secure the pass.
4) Knee Cut
Starting from the open guard with the opponent keeping the inside position with their legs up and knees bent, start the drill by turning your hips and pummeling your leg in. Assuming that you’re passing on the left side and your right leg pummeled inside, extend your right leg to the side while keeping your knees and toes pointed out to change the angle of their hip.
Use the connection of your right leg with the opponent’s far leg to help you bring it to the left side. Use your left hand to push on the opponent’s near knee and your right hand to post on their far hip. Spring off your right leg and jump your left leg to your left side for the pass. Use the motion to swing yourself over to the left side. When you land, place your shin over the opponent’s thigh while sitting on your heel to remove the opponent’s ability to apply a Reverse De La Riva hook.
Use your right hand to post across the opponent’s hip and block their knee shield with your shoulder while maintaining a solid posture. Finish from this position and proceed to drill on the opposite side.
5) Pressure Guard Pass
Starting from the smash pass where the opponent’s far leg is over your right shoulder, grab their near knee using your left hand and push it down as you drop your left shoulder to their stomach. Jump or step over your leg over to the left side to pass. The main focus is to keep your shoulder heavy and your knees right off the floor. After passing to the side, move your training partner’s other leg over your shoulder (as if they’re trying to defend the guard pass) and continue the drill as you switch to the other side.
This drill starts from side control, meaning you have already passed the opponent’s guard. It is critical to have the ability to transition from one dominant position to another. Starting from left-side control, when your training partner turns towards you, lift your right leg and place your knee on their belly to get your right hand underneath your training partner’s back. Drive your right knee across and down from this position while putting your shin across the back. Switch your left-hand cross-face into a collar tie, pull your training partner into you, and secure the back mount.
Partner passing drills are essential to improve your overall mobility, coordination, and speed. Remember that you must drill from all major positions so that you can react quickly to your opponent’s movements. Keep drilling and find time to polish your technique as best as you can; you’ll surely see massive improvements to your game!
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