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Three Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Mistakes I Make: Double Underhook Guard Pass

June 08, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 241

There is no situation in BJJ likely to frustrate a novice student more than attempting to pass someone's guard.When I think about what makes the style so effective in a grappling tournament or other competitive martial arts environment, it's the fact that the bottom guard is a far stronger position than it appears it should be.If you're stuck in someone's guard, and can't attempt to throw reckless punches as we usually see in MMA, it can feel like a hopeless spot.

One of the most effective guard passes, and easiest to teach to a beginner, is the Double Underhook.Like most guard passes, it starts with opening your opponent's legs and breaking their closed guard (if their guard is closed).Once their guard is open, you swim your arms underneath both legs and grip your hands together around their hips... hence the name "Double Underhook".You shift your opponent, and stack their own weight on top of them by bringing their hips up.Once they're stacked and doubled over, it's easy for you to raise a shoulder and drive them to one side or the other.At worst, you'll end up in top side control.If they fall all the way over their belly, which often happens, you take their back.

When I fail to pass with a Double Underhook, it's usually because of one of these three mistakes.

1)I don't get low enough when I set my underhooks

In every sport, if you want leverage to move your opponent, you need to get your center-of-gravity lower than their center-of-gravity.In the Double Underhook pass, if I stay too high, I'll be attempting to dead lift my opponent's weight in order to stack them.Unless I'm the Incredible Hulk going against the 98-Pound Weakling, I won't be able to do this... and even if I can, I'll be exerting a ton of energy.

Fortunately, I've got a clear indicator of failure before I try.If my arms are hooked around my opponent's thighs instead of their hips, I'm screwed.To establish a good position, I try to drop down as low as I can from my kneeling base, putting my shoulders as close to their butt as I can.I try to drive my arms forward, which naturally bring my shoulders down.If my opponent's thighs are on my shoulders, instead of my calves, I'm probably in good shape to make the pass work.

2)I don't keep my opponent close

As I start to stack my opponent, I'm probably going to have to slacken my underhook grip to re-adjust... as I stack, the grip from their shoulders to their waist.The higher I can get on their torso, the higher their center-of-gravity gets and the more uncomfortable they become.

While this is happening, though, I need to stay low and keep them close.If I allow space between my chest and their hips, it becomes much harder for me to control their weight.It's tougher for me, and easier for them to try to do a backward roll and get out of a bad spot.I don't want that.Grips need to stay tight, and space closed.

3)I get in a hurry

I feel like I write Step #3 as a failing in many of my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques.In this case, it's even worse of a sin than with other techniques.Let's say I've got my opponent stacked high, his weight doubling him over his shoulders, and he's close to me so I can easily control where he goes.Why on earth would I want to hurry up and let him out of this extreme discomfort?

I weigh 240 pounds.If I put any of my weight on top of my opponent at this point, they're going to hate their very existence.They will have difficulty breathing, their neck and shoulders will hurt, and they will likely be frustrated by the lack of a clear escape from their predicament.This is a perfect spot for me to take my time, relax, and think about what my next plan of attack is going to be from either the top side or back mount, wherever we end up.Once I know what I'm going to do, and I've felt like my opponent doesn't deserve any more discomfort, only then should I finish the guard pass.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, like most sports, is more fun to play when you can improve your standing from something bad to something good.The Double Underhook guard pass is a great way to do just that.Avoid making the mistakes I make, and you're guaranteed to have a better time on the mat!

Paul Herzog and his son Christopher have been taking judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instruction at Petushin Martial Arts since the new Rosemount, Minnesota facility opened in 2010. In addition to receiving some of the best grappling instruction in the Midwest, Paul has lost over 35 pounds, and Chris has gained strength and self-confidence. If either of those sounds appealing, please contact the academy at 612-991-9116 or go to to arrange your first visit!

Source: EzineArticles
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