Tricky Grips

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2 minute read

Yesterday I shared a guard passing highlight video of Tiago Barros, a top competitor from PSLPB.

He’s probably one of the best guard passers in his main weight category, the light feather division.

Let’s do a quick breakdown of his guard passing style.

​Here’s the video again.

Watch the whole thing before you move on and read further.

OK, did you watch it?


I think one of the most notable features of Tiago’s guard passing style is this:

He creates a mini-scramble first so he can…

1) be in a position to make pant cuff grips and

2) move towards the north-south position.

First of all, let’s talk about “mini-scramble”.

The kind of scramble you see in Tiago’s fights is pretty modest compared to how his former teammate Leandro Lo scrambles.

Tiago simply changes his level, direction, and/or angle to get some reaction from his opponent.

(OK, I said this line casually, but changing your level, direction, and angle is a crucial skillset.)

This is important because you usually can’t pass high-level guard players with a single guard passing attempt.

Their guard has many layers, and they are quick to recover because they know what’s likely to happen next.

So you need to disrupt their pattern/rhythm.

Once Tiago manages to create a mini-scramble, he looks to make pant cuff grips.

He grabs the pant cuff on the same line (i.e., grabbing his opponent’s left pant cuff with his right hand)…

… or on the opposite line (i.e., grabbing his opponent’s right pant cuff with his right hand).

These grips, especially the latter cross-grip variation, are effective against flexible guard players.

You can have great control over your opponent’s leg movements with these grips.

After securing these grips, Tiago moves towards the north-south position and then extends his arms.

This step is important…

… because good guard players will try to invert and follow you when you go for the north-south position.

But see what happens to Tiago’s opponents. The pant cuff grips and arm extension make it difficult for them to follow Tiago.

After this step, Tiago looks to pin his opponent or get into a better passing position if his opponent manages to recover.

Even if his specific style is not your cup of tea, you can steal some ideas from the way he passes as well.

Take a look at the highlight video again and see if you can get some hints to improve your guard passing skills.