The passing system I favour, primarily focus on what I regard as a proactive approach, meaning that the Guard Passer has imposed the system onto the Guard Player, and achieved positions that are heavily in their favour. The following should give you an idea of how the system is laid out and the logic behind it.
Passing Positions Vs Guard Positions
When passing the guard the general aim is to achieve a positional advantage that will allow the Guard Passer to bypass the lower and upper frames of the opponent and gain control of the torso and head. Passing Positions are those that possess a structural advantage in favour of the Guard Passer. These are positions in which the Guard Player is unable to apply any of the tools (DLR, Underhooks, Inside Hooks etc) in which they need to progress or the alignment in which to make these tools effective. Guard Positions on the other hand are those in which the Guard Player has achieved one or more of these tools and has sufficient alignment to use them to off-balance the Guard Passer and create sweep or submission opportunities. In these circumstances the Guard Passer will usually have to focus on dismantling the Guard Players structure before being able to pass, and is therefore at a disadvantage.
Proactive Passing System - The Guard Passer has been able to dictate the initial engagements and establish a strong functional Passing Position.
Reactive Passing System - The Guard Player has been able to dictate the initial engagements and establish a strong functional Guard Position.
Long Range Passing
Long range passing is characterised by the Guard Passer’s hip and shoulder line being at a distance from that of the Guard Player, until the completion phase of the pass. They involve passing the line of the feet and the knees in one motion and usually establishing control of the hip line. The majority will be structured with contact points/grips on opposing sides of the opponents centre line allowing good control of the opponents orientation.
A lot of these forms of pass are aimed at creating an opening or an angle to establish a Mid or Close Range Passing Position.
Mid Range Passing
Mid Range passing is defined by the Guard Passer having their hip line in close proximity to their opponents but a distance between their shoulder lines. The Mid Range is predominantly used as a launch pad for Close Range passes. Many passes will start in the Mid Range but will switch to Close Range as the pass nears completion. This can be seen frequently when the Guard Passer uses a Mid Range Knee Pin Position in order to establish shoulder line control with a far side underhook to complete a Knee Slice Pass.
A significant amount of time is spent in the Mid Range Passing Positions, and a solid understanding of the four core positions and how they are linked is essential. The more proficient passers will seamlessly transition from the Mid Ranges into Close and Long Ranges, allowing them to chain together tight pressure passing and more dynamic passes, which creates numerous retention problems for the Guard Player. The other advantage of utilising the Mid Range positions is the ability to easily transition to leg attacks due to the hip line proximity.
Close Range Passing
Close Range Passing is defined as the Guard Passer having their shoulder line in contact with their opponents mid or shoulder line. This can be achieved with their hip line being near or far from their opponents. This style of passing frequently involves collapsing or displacing the Guard Players frames with pressure. The gold standard for these passes involves gaining control of the opponents shoulder line with head and arm control using either a near of far side underhook.
The Close Range Passing component can be further subdivided into Entry Range and Passing Range. Entry Range is characterised by the Guard Passer being relatively low on their opponent, with their shoulder line parallel with the Guard Players hip line, and the Guard player having some form of frame obstructing the Passers hip line, usually an Inside Hook. This range is used to clear the opponents knee line in order for the passer to progress their hip line forward.
Concepts & Structures
Defining the Three Ranges of Passing
Functional Guard Vs Passing Position
Dealing with the Knee Shield (Mid Range)
Raising the Knee
Raising the Knee to Knee Pin
Knee Pin to Hip Lock Knee Slice
Knee Pin to Hip Lock Knee Slice with Gi
Folding Pass for the Knee Shield: Set Up (Gi)
Folding Pass for the Knee Shield: Completion (Gi)