Tonight we are going to take a look at the pass/sweep (or submit) drill. This is partly because this is an underused drill,
partly because I screwed up my thumb last night in open mat. Let’s go with the drill reason.
Pass/sweep is where you spar starting with one person inside the other persons closed guard. This is a foundational position of BJJ, and it’s critical that we understand what our goals are. The person inside the guard must pass, and nothing else. The person who has guard responds to that pass attempt with a sweep, or preempts it with an attack. The back and forth provided by this one drill opens up a massive opportunity to teach and refine. We could do nothing but analyze instances of pass/sweep drill recordings and build months of fundamentals lessons.
Yes, pass/sweep is exhausting. If it helps, I won’t have everyone doing it at once while we are studying what’s happening. This style of drilling and analysis will take each of your strengths and weaknesses and enhance your strengths and reduce your weaknesses. This is very similar to when I roll with students in open mat, and point out the flaws in form that I take advantage of.
The format we use for this should also be a template for how you roll in general. Every flaw gets exposed and discussed. It usually doesn’t take more than a sentence or two before you can get back to sparring. If it does take more than that, it’s probably pretty important that the flaw be explored in more detail. We should help our sparring partners in this way, both lower and upper belt. I want lower level guys to tell me when I do something that feels incomplete or strength based, and I want higher level guys to explain at what point I sealed my doom.
Let’s make grapplers that know how to do more than grunt.