Miyao & Mendes: Guarder vs. Passer at the Highest Level

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I came across this short video clip on AOJ’s Instagram page.

In this clip, Gui Mendes casually passes João Miyao’s guard in a sparring round and then troubleshoots João’s guard work afterward. I thought the clip was brilliant.​

Gui is one of the best guard passers, and João is one of the best guard players. Sparring and competition are two different things, but how Gui chains his guard passing moves against João in this roll is excellent.​

Let’s take a look at what’s going on.​

1. The sequence starts with Gui weaving João’s legs by making a lapel grip. Gui then tries to get a collar grip.​

2. Gui switches from the weave pass to the long step pass, and João comes up on his knees to stop Gui from completing the pass. João is probably looking to invert and recover his guard at this point, but he can’t do so easily because Gui’s lapel grip and arm are blocking João’s leg.

​3. Gui uses his left shin to pin João’s near leg and his left arm to scoop João’s knee/shin.

​4. Gui has a perpendicular angle against João, uses his shoulder to trap João’s near leg, and bulldozes forward. It’s essentially like the double under pass, except Gui’s doing it from João’s side.​

​What particularly caught my attention in this sequence is how Gui scooped João’s leg at the final step of the sequence (#4 above). I don’t remember seeing this method any recently (or perhaps I have never seen it!), and I think most people choose to switch to the leg drag or some form of back take in this situation. But I bet that would give João too much time and space to recover, and Gui’s method would be a perfect solution against a high-level guard player like João.​

Gui’s advice to João after the roll is excellent, too. Gui suggests João to frame against his opponent’s bicep/shoulder area rather than bring his leg in front of his opponent. According to Gui, the latter would be OK against those who don’t use pressure to pass the guard but won’t work against those who do.

​I think I mention or at least imply this point from time to time, but how an elite player like Gui thinks — their thinking process — is something you should pay attention to and learn from. It will help you come up with solutions to your BJJ problems.