How to Do the "Tripod" Guard Pass for Half Guard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - HowTheyPlay - Sports
Updated date:

How to Do the "Tripod" Guard Pass for Half Guard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

Passing the half guard.

Passing the half guard.

History of the Tripod Pass in BJJ

I remember using the tripod pass in 2004 when competing as a purple belt at the Pan Ams. Half guard still wasn't very well understood, and this pass, which relies on very simple fundamental concepts, served me incredibly well for a number of years. It's one of the cornerstone methods of passing, and it's great to understand how to mitigate the most common risks associated with the pass. There are also some fairly modern tweaks we can make to the pass to help you stay on top.

Tripod to Mount: The Classic

The epitome of the classic way to do this pass is straight to the mount. Start by dominating half guard by getting the outside underhook, by establishing a strong crossface, and utilizing both technical positions in order to keep your partner completely flat on their back. This takes most of their ability to establish an offensive half guard out of the way (although watch out for butterfly half and the related messes that can arise).

Once here, the next step is essentially to posture up in the air with your hips, while making sure your partner's face turns away from you (hello, shoulder pressure!). Keeping their face turned away, you can begin to shake your knee free if needed and slide right into mount (some of the time; when this doesn't work, we'll have additional techniques to use).

Knee-Cut Option

This was my personal favorite half guard pass for years. Start with the same tall tripod, trying to move to the mount position, exactly as before. Unfortunately, this time, your partner keeps your foot trapped in between their legs, keeping you from achieving the mount. Next up, lift your hips again (or keep them up; you can "change gears" while you are still in the air if it makes more sense to use the knee cut option). Finally, slide your knee across, shooting for a classic knee cut guard pass finish. As always, from the knee cut, you also have the backstep passing options if they get the underhook during the transition.

"Yogafoot" and Shoulder Pressure

For a slightly meaner (and, ultimately, more stable) approach, try focusing on the initial shoulder pressure even more, making your partner look the exact wrong way. Next, while posturing only slightly up with your hips, swivel your free foot inside of your partner's knee, right where your leg is trapped. This "yogafoot" motion (swiveling the foot, but not moving the knee) is tremendously useful in BJJ. You can bring your knee in flush with your partner's hip here, so that you'll know when to shoot the foot in there. Now bring your hips up with impunity, and then switch things up for a knee cut pass.

Evolution

This guard-passing sequence, while a classic, has undergone some significant modifications over the years. When I initially learned it, the classic method was to drive your shoulder under your partner's chin, almost as though you were trying to pop the bottlecap off of a soda or beer bottle. Nowadays it's more common to see the face turned away from the pass, and I think that's a good thing. The pass is still a very, very strong pressure pass, but it's also extremely technical and careful. As always, let me know how these techniques are working for you!

© 2018 Andrew Smith

Related Stories

butterfly-guard-for-bjj

How to Do a Butterfly Guard for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A brief tutorial on how to use butterfly guard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

how-to-pass-spider-guard

How to Pass Spider Guard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A brief tutorial on how to pass spider guard for BJJ, with focus on 3 fundamental approaches.

how-to-crossface-to-pass-half-guard

How to Crossface to Pass Half Guard

A brief tutorial on how to flatten and control your partner while passing the half guard, utilizing the crossface.

how-to-do-a-knee-cut-guard-pass-in-bjj

How to Do a Knee Cut Guard Pass in BJJ

A basic BJJ instructional tutorial on how to pass the guard using the "knee cut" or "knee slide" guard pass technique.

how-to-pass-scissor-half-guard-z-guard

How to Pass Scissor Half Guard (Z Guard)

A brief tutorial on how to deal with scissor half guard in sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.

7-toreando-guard-pass-variations

7 Toreando Guard Pass Variations in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A brief tutorial on seven different variations of the "toreando" guard pass.

basic-half-guard-tutorial

Basic Half-Guard Tutorial in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Half guard is a valuable position in BJJ, one of the most common. Here, we cover fundamental bottom half-guard concepts.

how-to-get-from-spider-guard-to-x-guard

How to Get From Spider Guard to X-Guard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A brief tutorial on how to move from spider guard to X-guard in BJJ. This is an important movement to get down properly if you want to be competitive in BJJ.

how-to-open-the-closed-guard-in-bjj

How to Open the Closed Guard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A description on how to get the guard open, and then how to start passing, with proper base and posture. This is an important skill to get down as it can be used in a variety of situations.

how-to-do-a-leg-staple-guard-pass-in-bjj

How to Do a Leg Staple Guard Pass in BJJ

A fundamental guard pass tutorial on the "leg staple" or "same-side knee-drive" technique.

how-to-do-a-backstep-guard-pass-bjj

How to Do a Backstep Guard Pass (BJJ)

A brief tutorial on how to do the "backstep pass" in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This advanced technique can help you out if you get into trouble during a match.

how-to-do-a-spinning-armbar

How to Do a Spinning Armbar in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A brief tutorial on how to execute a spinning armbar from knee on stomach, and while defending the Kimura grip. Once you get it down, this is a pretty cool move to do on the mat.

tozisao-paulowilson-pass-no-gi-troubleshooting-details-a-bjj-tutorial

Arm Trap (Dirtball) Tozi Pass Tutorial for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A brief tutorial on the classic "arm behind the back" guard pass, with some advanced details. This is a great move to add to your skillset and it can be super effective if you get it down correctly.

countering-the-twister-pass-for-bjj

Countering the Twister Pass for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A brief BJJ tutorial on escaping "twister side control" in transition and taking the back in your own right.

how-to-pass-the-half-guard-the-hip-switch-method-bjj

How to Pass the Half Guard: The Hip-Switch Method (BJJ)

How to pass half guard when your partner gets the underhook via the "hip-switch" half guard pass method.