MMA Gospel’s Technique of the Week returns to give fans and aspiring fighters alike deeper understanding of the grappling techniques seen in the cage as Ed Perdomo and Johnny Rodriguez go back to the basics for a four-week arc showing two basic guard passes that move directly into two Straight Armbars from side mount. For the first move in this set, Ed Perdomo will pass Johnny’s guard on the high side and end in position to transfer directly into next week’s Armbar.
Ed has managed to posture up in Johnny’s closed guard. To pass the guard, he must first force Johnny to separate his feet and open his guard. In submission grappling this typically is done by pressuring with the shoulder or digging the elbow into the inside of the defender’s knee. MMA provides a more efficient option with ground-and-pound. Ed starts by sitting back in Johnny’s guard to avoid being pulled back down to his chest and begins throwing punches to force Johnny to open his guard (LEFT).
As soon as Johnny separates his feet, Ed moves to pass. He starts by using one hand to push Johnny’s knee on to the mat on the same side. At the same time, Ed posts up on the opposite leg. Once this knee is trapped, Ed will dig his elbow under Johnny’s knee on the opposite leg, trapping Johnny’s knee against his thigh with his forearm (RIGHT).
Once he has Johnny’s legs firmly separated and controlled, Ed pushes against Johnny’s high side leg (the leg not trapped to the mat) with his shoulder, slides his high side foot up to Johnny’s armpit, stands, and turns out of Johnny’s guard (LEFT). With Johnny’s high side leg caught on his shoulder, Ed has a couple of options: shuck the leg off the shoulder and slide into side mount, or move into a spinning Armbar as Ed will show next week. One very important thing to notice is that throughout the move, Ed’s hand on the high side stays inside Johnny’s knee to defend against a Triangle if needed. The number one rule in dealing with an opponent’s guard is to keep both hands either inside or outside their legs – never have one hand inside the guard and one outside.
- Open your opponent’s guard with punches while sitting back in their guard.
- Once their legs are open, post up on one foot and trap your opponent’s opposite knee to the mat with the hand opposite the foot on which you posted.
- Insert your elbow on your free hand under your opponent’s high side knee by pushing through their inner thigh, making sure that you leave your hand against the inside of the opponent’s knee.
- Press in with your shoulder, stand, and move your body around the high side to either take side mount or set up a submission.
This high side guard pass is one of the most basic in the world of submission grappling but it is also one of the most versatile as it leaves multiple options open after it is finished, allowing for anything from submission attempts to simply sliding into side control. Next week, Ed Perdomo will explore one of those many options.
*Ed Perdomo is a 4th degree black belt in the Korean grappling art of Hapkido and is head instructor of the Hapkido Institute in Morris, Illinois.