Persistence in Guard Passing

If you’ve read my blog before, then you know that I’m a big fan of the Mendes Bros., but recently I’ve been watching a lot of Leandro Lo, especially after the BJJ Scout put out tons of videos on him. His guard passing is amazing! Why? Because, he is persistent in his passing, which I believe is the sweet spot when it comes to passing mentalities. Before we cover persistence, and what it means, I’d like to go over the two passing mentalities that I think can have some negative effects.


Being stubborn is both a gift and a curse in many areas of life, but in guard passing, being stubborn is really only a curse. So, what is my definition of stubborn guard passing?

It’s trying a knee slide and getting it stuffed. So, you then try a knee slide again, and again, and again. Every single time your opponent stops your knee slide attempt right in its’ tracks. What makes this bad, you ask?

  1. Obviously your opponent knows the defense to the pass. You’re most likely not going to pass his/her guard with that particular pass.
  2. When you continue doing the pass, then it’s even easier for your opponent to stop, since they are expecting it.
  3. Since your opponent is expecting it, you then allow them to counter more easily.

It’s a terrible idea! I’ve seen it several times, especially at blue and white belt. It doesn’t pay to be stubborn! Don’t do it!


Resetting is the most common type of mindset I’ve seen in guard passing and it really can sometimes go hand-in-hand with stubbornness, which makes it even worse! So, what is resetting?

It’s going to a knee slide, getting it stuffed and then settling down into your opponents half guard. Pausing there for several seconds and then going for another pass OR being stubborn and going for the same exact pass again! What makes this bad?

  1. You had them on the defensive! Now you are giving your opponent a chance to compose themselves.
  2. Since you are giving them a chance to compose themselves, you’re also giving them a chance to attack back!

It’s just a bad idea. Do generals on the battle field, when they are pushing forward and meet resistance, take steps back to reset? No! They hold their ground. They push forward. They keep attacking and you should too!


Persistence. Stubbornness. What’s the difference?

stub·born [stuhb-ern]
1. unreasonably inflexible attitude.

per·sist·ent [per-sis-tuh nt, -zis]
1. persisting in spite of opposition and obstacles.

Stubbornness is being set in your ways. What is persistence? Unlike stubbornness, persistence is moving towards your goal of passing your opponents guard, but using different techniques to get there!

It’s trying a knee slide, getting that stuffed, so you immediately try a leg drag! What is so great about this?

  1. Your opponent may know the defense to one pass, but not to another. This raises your chances of passing your opponents guard.
  2. It’s unexpected, so you surprise your opponent with whatever secondary pass you attempt. It also makes you harder to counter and sweep.
  3. You’re attacking constantly, which means your opponent is constantly on the defensive, instead of being on the offensive.

It’s really the way to go and I’ve really been trying to employ this mindset. And if you’re a white belt who only knows one pass, this still applies to you! First of all, learn some more passes! They are extremely important. But second, switch the direction you do your one pass! If you try to knee slide to the right and it fails, go to the left! Try something new! I guarantee you, over time, it will really help your passing!


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