Dominating the Mat: The Importance of Guard Retention and Passing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Guard retention and passing are two essential skills in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) that are used to control and submit an opponent. In this blog post, we will focus on the guard retention and passing drill, which is an important part of a BJJ practitioner’s training regimen.

What is Guard Retention and Passing?

Guard retention is the ability to maintain your guard and prevent your opponent from passing. Guard passing is the ability to pass your opponent’s guard and establish a dominant position. These two skills are critical in BJJ, as they are used to control and submit an opponent.

Why is Guard Retention and Passing Important?

Guard retention and passing are important skills in BJJ for several reasons:

Maintaining control: By retaining your guard, you can maintain control over your opponent and prevent them from passing.

Establishing a dominant position: By passing your opponent’s guard, you can establish a dominant position, which can give you a significant advantage in live sparring.

Improving overall BJJ skills: Guard retention and passing require a combination of technique, strategy, and athleticism, and training these skills can help you improve your overall BJJ skills.

How to Perform the Guard Retention and Passing Drill

Here’s how to perform the guard retention and passing drill:

  • Start in a seated position, with one partner in the guard and the other partner trying to pass.
  • The partner in the guard should focus on retaining their guard and preventing the passing partner from establishing a dominant position.
  • The passing partner should focus on passing the guard and establishing a dominant position.
  • Repeat the drill, alternating between the guard retention and passing roles, and focusing on developing a smooth, fluid motion.

Tips for Improving Your Guard Retention and Passing

Here are some tips for improving your guard retention and passing:

Practice regularly: The more you practice guard retention and passing, the better you will become. Set aside time each day to work on these skills, and try to incorporate them into your live sparring sessions.

Focus on form:

Make sure you are performing the techniques correctly and using your hips, legs, and upper body to generate power.

Use resistance: You can use a resistance band or a partner to provide resistance as you perform the drill. This will help you build strength and improve your technique.

Study technique:

Watch instructional videos and attend BJJ classes to learn new techniques and strategies for guard retention and passing.

Practice under pressure:

Try to simulate real-world situations in your training, and practice guard retention and passing while your partner is trying to resist. This will help you develop the reflexes and instincts you need to execute the techniques in live sparring.


Guard retention and passing are essential skills in BJJ, and they are critical for controlling and submitting an opponent. By incorporating the guard retention and passing drill into your training regimen, you can improve your overall BJJ skills, maintain control over your opponent, and establish a dominant position. So, get on the mat and start practicing!

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