passing guard of a bigger person


Apr 28, 2005
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I have been training about 18 months in no-gi and am having a fair bit of trouble passing the closed guard of people who are much bigger than me. I am about 5' 7" 170lbs (buff not fat), but when I roll with people over 6' tall who have strong legs, they just keep in me their closed guard all day. Once I get into half guard I can pass very quickly, its just getting out from the closed guard that is hard. Thx in advance.
Hands in the pockets.. Reaching back with both hands at the same time to open the legs. If they do climb they are left with no attacks.. As they open to attack move for your pass of choice.. Usually double under pass.

They have to open to attack, so bait them and when they open is time to move. Dont get into a strength game with them.

My favorite thing to do is hands in the abdomen, and just stand up keeping the knees tight to the body to avoid armlocks. Once im up i keep one hand on the abdomen and one goes to the knee to open them up.
Usually they will do the shooting the star sweep, or try for omoplatta - just know they are coming and usually ill either get the pass, or ill get a crufix from them doing the sweep. Grab under their butt as they open if they are hooking a leg and just dump them over as you take the crucifix.

Watch Marcelo Garcia fighting no-gi or gi.. he almost always stands right away when someone closes the guard. Roger Gracie too.
break standing. hands in the arm pit pass is especially useful against bigger guys.
Breaking a closed guard is generally best done standing. Something alot of people don't try but definantly works is just shaking the person off. Just making small jumps will loosen the person off. Its surprising how little strength it needs.

The guards I have trouble passing are those of insanely flexible people. I have to have the technique just right or they will somehow bring their foot or thigh in at a weird angle stopping the pass.
Keep the tips coming guys, I was thinking about starting a thread like this. I've been having trouble with most of my closed guard passes on the bigger guys. Can't seem to get the pressure I want to pin the hips without risking my posture, and I am finding myself a little lost with foot positioning and finishing standing passes.
I find bigger guys much easier to deal with than smaller ones...If they're small, they can usually get a tight vice grip around me, and can often hang on to me when I stand. Big guys can't hold their weight up as easily. In general, long limbs will leave gaps when they encircle you, so I find it easier to move them around.