Passing The Guard Tips The IRT Way…….


There are several things that I personally like to do when passing the guard that I feel would help out anyone.  There are actually a lot of components into passing the guard.  I would be remiss in saying that you need to learn this skill set from a competent instructor in person and not via video, online here or anywhere else.  However, if you already have been taught then the following tips may help you out.  They apply whether you are doing a low guard pass or a high guard pass.  They also apply to passing the closed guard or an open guard or any of the variations of open guard.

Here are some tips:

1.  Always keep yourself centered and in balance regardless of where you are in the pass. (do not allow your balance to be broken)

2.  Use as little of the opening in space that you need.  Do not force or create extra space when you do not need to. (this is very important because if you do try to force larger space you may get out of balance. see #1)

3.  Know the counters to the guard pass so that you do not fall a victim of a submission while passing the guard.  If you know the counter you will be in position to check it while you are transitioning.

4.  When you can pin one of your opponents limbs as you are passing do so smoothly with the ability to continue your transition through your guard pass.  The details here are really important because it can be done very poorly leaving you vulnerable unless you know the details.

5.  Have control of your opponent either by a handhold or finger grip of the gi.  This can dramatically reduce their ability to move and thereby counter you pass.  I try to avoid loose guard passes when possible because then it becomes a scramble and that is not what I want happening.

6.  If the opponent has a gi utilize your forearm when passing to crank on their neck.  This is probably the single most underused thing I am suggesting but one that was drilled into me and has always been super effective.

7.  Be smooth when you can.  Smooth, fluid, moving through your progression can really work to enhance your guard passing skills.

8.  Yet again there is always time for contradictions.  In this case some times be herky jerky in your guard pass to confuse your opponent.

9.  Combine 7 and 8 to create some confusion in opponents.

10.  This is what most people forget to do but what they should always be concentrating on when passing the guard.  Protect your neck!  Pretty simple really as you do a guard pass protect your neck knowing that someone who has training may try to place you in a triangle.  Knowing this and being ready for it will help you counter them when they attempt it!

11.  Likewise if you are practicing passing the guard for the street and not competition you need to protect your eyes as much as possible.  Just having a hand there will help and if some thing comes at them close your eyes to give yourself some extra protection.  In IRT when we pass the guard we make sure we keep the hand protecting the eyes until we have to engage it.  Thereby minimizing our opponents opportunity.

12.  Finally, Once again remember hey I am passing the guard so while doing so I need to protect my arm from an armbar.  Pretty simple really as you are passing your elbow should be bent and ready to pull back to the core of your body at all times.  This like number 10 and number 11 is very, very important!

13.  This is how we do it in IRT for the street.  Always and I repeat always strike your opponent in the groin as you are doing your guard pass.  Shock factor alone should help you complete the pass.  You can always double up if needed!  Striking the groin as it is a close target just makes common sense!  So do it!!!


I hope the above help a bit for those who already know how to guard pass and have learned the counters to the guard passes for both low and high.  Remember to relax and go through your progression and I know you will have success with lots of practice!

Take a look at the 4:10 minute mark on this video clip to see an IRT High Guard Pass:

If you enjoyed what you saw check out Grappling With The Uniform Part 2 and 3 on Youtube or by the DVD titled Grappling Utilizing the Uniform here:

Standard IRT Combative Guard Pass for Demonstration Purposes Not Utilizing Collar Finger Holds:

See You On The Mats!

Brian R. VanCise

Note: This blog is opinion only and neither Instinctive Response Training LLC or Brian R. VanCise are responsible for any third party actions.

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About Brian VanCise

Hi my name is Brian R. VanCise and my passion is the Martial Sciences. I have trained almost my entire life in the pursuit of martial excellence and I teach a world class curriculum in Las Vegas, Nevada. Contact us at: 702-326-3622
This entry was posted in instin, martial arts, personal protection, self defense. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Passing The Guard Tips The IRT Way…….

  1. Rich says:

    Thank you! This really helps my understanding of what to look for and why!!!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it Rich!

  3. Pingback: Passing The Guard Tips The IRT Way

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