I typically go for the knee cut pass as my main guard passing option.
I have a specific preference when it comes to this pass, and it has been working well for me.
But I recently decided to make a few adjustments to how I pass the guard.
I’m still getting used to them, but these adjustments seem to be making my pass more difficult for my training partners to resist.
Before making these adjustments, I preferred to make a grip on my opponent’s left collar with my right hand, leaning into my opponent’s left leg from their inside space, and using my right shin to pin my opponent’s right thigh down.
My posture would be upright so I could rest my butt on my heel. I’d look to control my opponent’s right sleeve or elbow.
In other words, it’s a fairly typical knee-cut posture, passing the guard to my left (or my opponent’s right) side.
The adjustments I made are the following:
1. Controlling my opponent’s left hip with my right arm instead of controlling their left collar with my right hand.
2. Turning my right knee towards my opponent’s stomach.
3. Grabbing my opponent’s right collar with my left hand. (In no-gi, controlling their head.)
4. Posting my head on my opponent’s left shoulder.
5. Using my legs to bring my opponent’s right/bottom leg in case I need to deal with the knee shield (as opposed to using my left hand to do this as in a typical way of clearing the knee shield).
Apart from #4, these adjustments are all based on what Gui Mendes does & teaches.
I learned to do #4 from Gordon Ryan’s guard passing instructionals. Gui Mendes does this too, though (and who knows, perhaps he teaches to post your head on your opponent’s far shoulder somewhere, but I don’t know if that’s the case). Interestingly, Gordon Ryan does all of them when he goes for the knee-cut, if I’m not mistaken. Some other high-level guard passers like Lucas Lepri and J.T. Torres do similar things.
So… if these guys are passing the guard like this and it’s working amazingly well for them, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t try and copy it, especially given that this is not something that requires the kind of athleticism I don’t have.
If you feel stuck and/or as if you aren’t making progress, it probably helps to watch and study how some of the best players in the world do their things… and see if you can steal some details from them.
Always keep adjusting your game.
p.s. Here’s a great example of the AOJ style guard passing, excelling in the mid range distance. Not exactly related to the adjustments I talked about in this email, but the way Tainan Dalpra chains different guard passing options is amazing. Likewise, how his opponent Jeferson Guaresi keeps his guard is amazing, too.