A Shortcut to Passing The Guard – The Tozi Guard Pass

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Passing the guard can be a very difficult task in BJJ. The Tozi guard pass is the ultimate shortcut to passing the closed guard. It is a spine-twisting, gut-wrenching guard pass that’ll make your opponents give up the pass! Here’s how the Tozi guard pass works:

When you first start training BJJ, one of the first lessons is opening the closed guard. Along with opening and passing the guard, you usually get to learn some passing principles. Some of them include having a good base, super posture and keeping your arms in front of you. Well, it is time to break all these principles and still manage to pass the guard. Not only that but pass it with unstoppable pressure. The Tozi guard pass is unlike anything you’ve seen before. It breaks all the principles of guard passing, yet delivers one of the strongest pressures in BJJ.

The Tozi Guard pass is one of those BJJ techniques that lurks in the shadows. It is not a new technique, and for some baffling reason, is not a “mainstream” one either. It is a very efficient move that is on the advanced side of passing. After all, you still need those basic few passing principles. The Tozi guard pass is the next step to passing. It is how you pass the most notorious guard players, Gi or No-Gi.

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Who Came Up With The Tozi Guard Pass?

The Tozi pass has more than one name in BJJ circles. You might also know it as the Margarida, Reis, Sao Paolo or Chim guard pass. The position was originally created by Roberto Tozi at the 2003 world championship. In the final of the super-heavyweight division, Tozi lost to Erik Wanderley by a decision. The reason behind this huge loss was Wanderley’s closed guard prowess. Namely, he resorted to an overhook closed guard variation to nullify anything Tozi attempted.

Lesson learned Tozi started practicing from the overhook closed guard once back in training. Experimentation yielded one of the most devastating passing sequences in grappling martial arts. He Immediately tested the newly formed Tozi Pass in competition with complete success. From there on, it became his trademark move. OF course, others soon realized what a gem this move is and adopted it immediately. Even the great Roger Gracie himself uses the Tozi guard pass against dangerous guard players. It even works against some forms of open guard, like the butterfly guard and the Z-guard.

How To Execute The Tozi Guard Pass

The main reason the Tozi is so effective is the abandonment of basic guard passing principles. Broken posture? No problem, it just gets you into passing position. Furthermore, a lot of the times breaking and passing the guard are two very distinct processes, With the Tozi pass, these two are tightly integrated together. You get a guard break and guard pass in one bone-crushing sequence. So, let’s break the guard pass down into 6 distinct key steps:

  1. Tozi Guard pass

    Establish An Underhook. The position that got Tozi in trouble actually helps you in this situation. Whenever an opponent goes for an overhook from the closed guard, you’re in play. If you want to pass against a regular closed guard, you’ll need to get the underhook yourself. Just make sure you watch out for chokes once you break your posture.

  2. Tozi guard PassHip Control. You can’t allow your opponent to have control over their hips. This might end up with you on the wrong end of an overhead sweep. Once you get the underhook it’s time to kill the hips. Just move sideways so that one of the opponent’s legs ends up directly beneath you. This is going to block all hip mobility and pin your opponent for the guars pass.

  3. Tozi guard PassPressure. This is where things get weird. You’ll need to switch your hips and let your hip fall on the opponent’s bottom leg. Switching the hips is essential for a good base. Once in position, you might feel like you actually have no base, but this is not the case. It is very hard for your opponent to do anything once their hips are blocked. A common occurrence is an opponent pushing your head. However, if you have correct weight distribution, the pressure is going to make this highly unlikely. It’ll take practice to keep constant pressure and maintain your base in this position.

  4. Tozi guard PassAnkle Grip. To completely take away any movement from your opponent, you’ll need to break yet another passing principle. You’ll need to reach back with your free arm and grip their ankle. This is going to provide you with added control as well as a way to break the guard. Make sure you grip tight though because a flexible opponent can still get a triangle if they release their leg.

  5. Breaking the Guard. Depending on which way your opponent crossed their ankles, you have several options. You can either kick a leg out or use the ankle grip to break the legs open. It takes next to no strength from the correct position.

  6. Tozi guard PassGuard Pass. Finally, once the guard opens you’ll still have ankle control. The goal is to get straight to side control by using your hooks to pin your opponent’s legs. Another hip switch will do the trick. Often times, though, you’ll end up in half guard. Even then, you’re in a great spot since you already have an underhook on the far side.

A Few More Tips And Tricks

Setting up the pass is as much dependent on deception as it is on technique. A great way to get started is to allow your partner to get a collar grip. It’s important that you don’t allow them to get the second hand in though.  To achieve this, simply drop your head and turn it away, placing your ear on their chest. As you drop down, it’s important that your right arm stays extremely tight to your opponent’s ribs and that your elbow drops back.

Tozi guard Pass Ankle lockHere’s a really cool trick for stubborn opponents. If your partner doesn’t allow you to uncross their feet don’t to worry. As you switch your hips, make sure your partner’s ankles are between your legs. Now simply step over with your top leg and triangle your legs. Your just a hip push away from finishing with a very nasty ankle lock. Actually depending on which of the opponent’s legs is on top, you’ll either get an ankle lock or a heel hook. Both are legal though, and very effective!

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