Last night’s class was pretty awesome. We started out with the usual warm-ups, then a guard pass, and then guard pass drills instead of rolling. The pass felt more complicated than necessary, but was pretty simple to follow (this description for right-handed variation):
- Start in your partner’s closed guard. Grab the back of his head like you’re doing a can opener, but don’t crank on the neck, just pull on the neck to keep him stacked into you.
- Your partner grabs over your arms with his right arm to set up an arm bar. With your right arm, overhook his right elbow. Pull on the arm like you’re doing an arm drag to clear it.
- Once the arm is clear your left hand goes on the tricep to block, and your right hand grabs his wrist. Your left side is now clear of his right arm.
- Put your left foot up, then stand, pulling on your partner’s wrist with your right arm. Thales notes “if you’re not pulling him up, he’s pulling you down.”
- Block your partner’s left leg by putting your right elbow into the thigh. Take a small step back with your left leg and push down on your partner’s right thigh with your left hand. This opens the guard.
- Drop your left knee over your partner’s right thigh to block the leg. Your right leg should be pressed up against his left leg as though you were doing a single-unders pass.
- Push his trapped wrist toward his head, reach under his head with your left hand, and switch grips. He should now be “gift wrapped“.
- Underhook his right leg with your right hand and switch your hips to escape your right leg without letting him trap you in half-guard. You now have him gift wrapped in side control. Pull your right arm out and underhook his left arm.
From there we worked a couple of transitions – to mount and to the back – as well as some submissions from the gift wrap. Then came guard pass drills. We were partnered with person A on their back and person B passing. After three minutes we switched to person B on their back and person A passing. I’m a little embarassed to admit that it’s been almost a year since I last did guard pass drills. It showed. The first guy I went with was an awkward experience for me. I’m not used to being so clumsy or so unsure. With the second roll I started getting more comfortable. I feinted the knee-bar to keep him from getting my back to roll under and recover guard. I was also starting to be able to drive with my hips better. With the third guy things were starting to come back to me. My favorite passes from Wade’s white belt curriculum were working as high percentage moves, and I somehow managed a knee-tap sweep.
Overall it was an awesome night of working on the guard. Let my floundering be a lesson – you can’t replace situation-based rolling for getting good at handling that position. It’s important to get all four levels of work on a technique – practicing it and adding details, drilling it, situation-based rolling, making it work in rolling.