Learning how to pass the guard can be tricky.
Typically, when you are playing the guard, you don’t have to worry about your opponent’s submissions apart from leg attacks.
And when you are a beginner, you won’t have to worry about heel hooks, kneebar, or toe hold. In other words, as long as you are careful about straight foot lock, you’re good to go.
But when you are trying to pass your opponent’s guard, you have to be aware of your opponent’s sweeps and submission attempts. In short, there can be more things you will need to deal with.
The good thing is, your posture, stance, and angle can limit what your opponent can do to you, especially when you add pressure and control to the mix. Adjusting these elements is not the easiest thing in the world, though. This is because BJJ is a dynamic game where both you and your opponent constantly try to control each other and get a dominant position.
One thing beginners (even intermediate folks) tend to do is to rush and skip their guard passing process. Suppose your opponent has some dominant grips on you. In that case, you cannot ignore them and force your pass because your opponent, especially if they are skilled, is likely to use your offensive attempt to their advantage… and that’s typically when they catch you with a sweep or a submission.
You need to block your opponent’s sweep/submission attempts and defuse whatever they are doing to set up their attacks… but there’s something you must do before working on these things.
If you are in the beginning stage of learning how to pass the guard, I’d say this is the first thing you should work on.
And this thing will improve your guard passing success rate overall, too.
I might have mentioned it in a previous email, so you might be able to guess it.
But what you must do first is to establish and stabilize your position. In less fancy words, be in a position where your opponent will find it difficult to sweep or submit you AND then keep that position before making any offensive moves.
The secret to improving your guard passing skills is to understand that you don’t have to pass your opponent’s guard right away.
You don’t want to stall for the entire duration of your sparring round because you will not learn anything & that will be a waste of time. But you don’t have to feel pressured to go for a pass when you aren’t ready, either. Your initial goal is to be in a safe position and keep it. Once you are in such a position, you can start working on passing your opponent’s guard.
Does this make sense?