Let’s do a quick study of Tainan Dalpra’s guard passing sequence from the Tainan Dalpra vs. Italo Moura match from Pan Championship 2021.
The match result shocked me because Tainan scored 29 points against Italo, whereas Italo didn’t score a single point against Tainan.
I’ve trained with Italo when I was at PSLPB in the first half of 2016. He was a purple belt back then and definitely one of the best players on the mat, including other brown & black belts.
Italo is known for his guard game… and Tainan breaks Italo’s guard layers one by one at ease until Italo has no defense.
What caught my attention is Tainan’s specific guard passing sequence.
He uses the sequence throughout the match and elsewhere. Probably the best example is the one starting around 2:38. Here’s a gif of the sequence for your reference.
I think Tainan’s sequence may look familiar at its core, but there are some innovative elements to it. I’ll write more about it, but let’s start diving into it first.
Here’s the sequence in steps:
1. Push your opponent’s leg down.
Tainan pushes Italo’s left ankle down so he can trap Italo’s leg.
2. Trap that leg, pinching it with your legs.
Tainan’s posture & structure make it difficult for Italo to move his trapped leg.
Tainan squats down, stands on his toes, and pinches Italo’s leg with his own legs.
Tainan can’t move around quickly in this posture, but he has excellent control over Italo’s leg.
3. Change your angle.
Tainan then changes his angle, turning to his left side.
Step 2 and step 3 combined together are the key elements in this sequence.
Tainan’s leg trap allows him to deal with Italo’s leg without using his arms.
This may not sound like a big deal, but if you try to control a great guard player’s leg with your arms, you will have difficulty accomplishing that task.
So instead, you fight against one of their legs with two of your legs, while blocking their other leg with your arm and pinning their upper body with a collar grip you make.
4. Control your opponent’s far leg with your hand and clear your inside leg from between your opponent’s legs.
Because of the angle change Tainan made in the previous step, it’s much simpler for Tainan to take his leg out from between Italo’s legs.
Once Tainan is past Italo’s leg, he starts moving to Italo’s side.
Now, some thoughts.
– Tainan’s pass reminds me of Fernando Terere, who popularized this guard passing style (watch this BJJ Scout video for Terere’s guard pass study). André Galvāo was a training partner of Terere for some time, and Galvāo co-founded ATOS, where Tainan’s coaches Rafa and Gui Mendes belonged.
- Gui Mendes discusses this “leg trap” concept in his recent BJJ Fanatics guard passing instructional. Namely, using your legs to deal with your opponent’s leg. This sounds so simple, but I think it’s an innovative concept.
– This leg trap concept is super helpful because you can change how you pass depending on your opponent’s reaction. You can switch to the knee cut pass, the leg drag pass, the smash pass, and so on.
– You can use the same concept in no-gi to pass your opponent’s guard as well. For example, Gordon Ryan uses something similar *in principle*, though you will need to post your hands on the mat in no-gi, as you can’t hang on to your opponent’s gi in this case.
The leg trap position might feel a bit weird initially, but it can improve your guard passing game tremendously once you get used to it. Try experimenting with it and see how it works for you.