Passing the Guard Vol. 1


By Ed Beneviille and Tim Cartmell

Reviewed by Roberto Pedreira

Special to 

Global Training Report


GTR promises to pull no punches when it comes to reviewing bad books and videos and we have reviewed some bad ones, in addition to some good ones (see reviews). It is always easier and more ego-gratifying to review bad books--you simply list the flaws and explain what the authors should have said, the obviously brilliant reviewer miraculously knowing what that would be. Good books are much harder to review.  Thus it is that Passing the Guard is not an easy book to review. The problem is that it is too good.

Not surprisingly, Passing the Guard is about passing the guard but not only that. Chp 6 covers attacks from inside the guard, neck cranks, ankle and knee locks) and attacks when the opponent is in the quatro (aka "turtle", or "dog" position). It also includes defenses against guard passes and defenses against attacks from inside the guard. All are shown clearly in photo sequences. Author Ed Beneville wears the white quimono and co-author Tim Cartmell wears the blue kimono. This makes it pretty easy to see what they are doing. For a lot of the more complicated moves, the sequence is shown from two different angles. The final section shows some drills that could be useful for developing the attributes needed to pass the guard. Obviously, there are many techniques for passing both closed and open guards. There are about 50 different passes covered. A few are generally all that most people need and if done well enough they will usually suffice (over the legs, under the legs, standing, kneeling, to left side, knee to right side, around the legs). Of course, guys with better guards will know all of the passes and will be ready to counter them. The more variations you can threaten with, the harder it will be for the guardeiro to keep the rhythm. Passing the Guard  Vol. 1 will give you a quick and handy overview of most of the present day methods for passing the guard. By the time Vol. 2 comes out there will probably be some new raspagems (sweeps) and finalizations on the scene, devised to exploit positional weaknesses in the older passes. So new passes will also be developed. Thus does the game never end.  

The authors seem to know what they are talking about. Tim has a brown belt from Cleber Luciano, and Ed's comes from Joe Moreira. 

I tried out each and every one of the moves in the book, to verify that they work and that the illustrations are sufficient to learn the move from. My conclusion is that they do work and the illustrations are sufficient. Judge for yourself. 

In most cases, one page is devoted to one technique (with side bars offering tips, warnings, and details). This page shows the Ezekial choke (known in judo as "sode guruma"). This is the technique that Yoshida allegedly beat Royce with (Royce denies it). The relevance of this choke is that it is one of the few (the Sucuri choke is another) that can work even if you are inside the opponent's guard or half guard, as Yoshida was in Royce's. 

You will notice one typo in the example page above ("grap" should be "grab"), and there are one or two others, but nothing out of the ordinary. Overall, this is a well produced, attractive, and easy to use book.  






(c) 2003-2007, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved