Search This Blog


Mendes Brothers Seminar: Passing the Spider Guard

I attended a seminar today, by the Mendes Brothers, Gui and Rafael, hosted by Small Axe BJJ.  The focus of the seminar was the leg drag pass, their predominant style of passing the guard.  Their style is an antithesis to what I've been "raised", but as they are multiple time world champions and I'm not, I'm more than willing to give it a try.  Some initial concepts:

  • Squat position: The Mendes style advocates a squatting position while standing to pass.  Knees bent, low center of gravity.  This maximizes mobility and stability.  It is also a vigorous workout for your thighs and glutes if you are not used to it.
  • Active Toes: Another aspect of the Mendes style is always engaging the toes.  Rather than letting the dorsal foot lie on the mat, posting up on the toes.  They argue that they can create greater pressure and move more rapidly.
  • Learn the details slowly, but drill with speed and power: Take your time to make sure you cover all the details, however once learned, drill with the speed and power of competition.  Train like you fight.
They corkscrew their way to the pass, working first one way then the other, rather than trying to wear down their opponent like a steadily approaching glacier.  Their style takes three steps forwards, two steps back, to gradually work their way past your guard.  The hypothesis behind the leg drag position is that it is a more direct way to close with an opponent, rather than creating the large amount of space needed to go from guard pass directly to side mount.  It avoids the chase, by closing like a trap.

Spider guard pass #1
Your partner has gripped both your sleeves and has his feet in your cubital fossa.  Grip their pant legs, suck your elbows in, placing them in your "hip pockets".  Using the squat Mendes passing stance step backwards, bring your partner to a sitting position.  Roll one hand underneath their leg and to the medial side of their calf.  Now step laterally to the opposite side, rolling your partner onto their shoulder.  Pull the leg, whose foot is still in the cubital fossa to the opposite side.  Simultaneously close the distance, displacing their knees to one side with your body.  They should drape over your thigh, the knee should pinch down and inward.  The other knee should land at about their belt line at the opposite hip, also driving inward.  The shoulder on this side rotates to pin them to the mat.  Your head should be on the side of their face, on the same side as their legs.  Their shoulders are flat on the floor, the pinning shoulder hand can detach from the pant leg and rotate down to grab their belt, holding them.  You want intense pressure, made worse by corkscrewing your partner's spine.  Remember to post on the toes if your knee is down.

Spider guard pass #2
Using the same set-up as above, this time after you roll your hand from top to inside you want to break their grip.  Step your shin in against their forearm on this side and then pull back, breaking the grip.  With your free hand grab their opposite leg, make pressure, and when they attempt to push you back, drag the leg to your opposite hip, again setting up the leg drag position.  This time, we retain control of the leg with the pinning shoulder hand, and either regrab the other pant leg or grip the lapel.  The elbow is placed on the outside of the far thigh if you wish to take back.  The elbow goes inside if we want to take side mount.

Spider guard pass #3
Again from the set-up above, this time you circle your hands inside and underneath both your partners legs and lift.  Your want them posted up on their shoulders, but without having their feet on the floor.  Post one knee into their back. Drag their legs over this thigh and bring your other knee in as above, to set-up the leg drag position.

Spider guard pass #4
This is from the spider guard variation where your partner has placed their shin in one cubital fossa with their other foot in your hip.  Trap their shin by grabbing their belt on this side and creating pressure.  Push the opposite leg to the floor as you step to this side.  Now take two steps to circle in the direction of their shin hook passing that leg to the opposite axilla and then stepping in with your leg to begin the set-up of the leg drag.  Push their leg laterally with your head to complete the position.  I had to release my belt grip as I circled back because my wrist was in jeopardy of submission from my partner's thigh collapsing due to my pressure.

Once you have stabilized the leg drag position and your opponent has stopped fighting it is time to capitalize on either the side or rear mount positions.  Do not go for side or rear mount if they are moving, the small amount of room need to obtain position is the room your opponent needs to escape.

Side mount from leg drag
You have your partner pinned in a good leg drag position, the drag side is controlling the lapel.  Detach the pinning shoulder side, opposite the side their legs are on and obtain head control.  Go deep and clasp the uniform of their opposite shoulder.  Quickly move to side mount, in an "active toes" position with the knees tight.  Their arm should be displaced so that your hip is in their axilla, propping them on your superior knee and then propping your head control elbow on your thigh.  Your inferior knee and other elbow control the hips respectively.  Use your free hand to control the far arm.

Rear mount from leg drag
From the leg drag position, the side opposite the drag side underhooks and grabs the collar.  The leg drag side controls their biceps.  Pull their arm in on the leg drag side as you prop them on their side.  Bump their arm on the underhook side up and place your chin on their trapezius as you secure the seatbelt grip.  Slide your knee from the over the shoulder portion of the seat belt in behind them and pull them to rear mount.

The Mendes Brothers advocate using the thumb in the seat belt grip.  Thus the underhook grabs the opposite wrist with the thumb and attempts to conceal that hand.

A quote from today: "Passing the guard three times doesn't mean I did a good job.  It means I need to work on holding my opponent. I should pass the guard once, obtain side mount, mount, or rear mount, and then attempt to submit him."

No comments: