Passing the Guard with Sergio Gasparelli

The guard is what makes Brazilian Jiu Jitsu unique. It is the only martial art in the world where fighting off your back on the ground is not seen as a bad thing but encouraged. Royce Gracie shocked the world with his ability to beat bigger and stronger opponents using the guard in the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This in turn sent our beloved sport into the mainstream and it caught on like wild fire. Since the guard is so fundamental and there are so many variations we can get caught up in techniques that are not high percentage. Sergio “Babu” Gasparelli covers excellent techniques for guard passing and retention in his third DVD in his “Babu: BJJ Mastermind Series” titled “Guard Strategies”. My full review on the course can be checked out here in my article on Science of! You can check out the trailer for the course below. I’m going to cover one of the passes that he teaches


Standing Up to Nullify the Guard

Sergio starts to say how he likes standing guard passes. They have a very high percentage and it stuffs most of the submission attempts our opponent can come at us with. I know that personally I’m not flexible or strong enough to

throw up my legs in the air to submit my opponent while still trying to hang on.  He covers a slick knee cut pass and lets break it down step by step:

  1. Babu starts by covering details in how to have proper positioning in the top full guard position. He covers how we must have proper posture, our feet must be aligned, and we must pinch in with our knees to control our opponent’s hips. He also covers the proper way to grip the lapels and why it is better than the traditional grip.
  2. He then jumps up to stand and brings his opponent with him so it looks like his opponent tried to pull full guard. He positions his hands with one on the lapels and one on his opponent’s knee
  3. He pushes down on the knee to break it causing his opponent to fall towards the mats with an open guard.
  4. On the way down he cuts his knee through the open leg in a knee cut variation. He remarks about how important it is to hook the leg with our foot so our opponent doesn’t scramble away.
  5. Backstep our other leg and consolidate a solid side control

I personally cannot stress enough how important hooking that leg with our foot is during the knee cut. In the lighter

The standing knee cut pass is one of the highest percentage passes

weight classes it’s harder to consolidate strong positions like side control because the guys in my division are already used to escaping from them with guys who are easily twice my size. If we don’t get that foot in place our opponent WILL scramble out and all of our work for the pass will be void.

In case you couldn’t tell by now this course is sick! Even Rashad Evans himself said that “Babu is a beast”. You can actually learn another technique from this course in another article I wrote here! The 12 disc DVD set is designed to work for gi and no gi for grapplers of all skill levels and I started teaching some of the concepts in my own academy. So if you go out and pick up a copy let me know how you liked it!

Dan Faggella

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