One of the most important skills that you can develop for your BJJ game is how to pass your opponent’s closed guard. You see, for the sport of BJJ, the person in the bottom guard usually has the advantage if he and his opponent are of similar skillsets. This is due to the inherent potential that the bottom guard has for execution of sweeps and submissions. So, what remains for the person in the top positions of the closed guard is to break his opponent’s guard open and then pass. And one of the most effective ways to get this done is by utilizing the so-called Tozi guard pass or “Wilson pass”.
Executing the Tozi guard pass / Wilson pass
The reason as to why the name of this guard pass technique bears the name is because of Roberto Tozi. This is a widely known BJJ competitor and Pan American BJJ champion. He used this technique during his competition days back at the turn of the millennium. Also, the Tozi pass is known as the Sao Paolo pass due to the fact that Roberto Tozi comes from this Brazilian city. Moreover, he was a member of the notorious Sao Paolo BJJ team.
That aside, this is a very useful and effective technique that’s utilized with big success by even the higher belts in competition. So, how do you actually perform it? Well, the setup is, naturally, in the full guard. What you need to do is use your arms to push your opponent’s arms away at his armpits. Make sure to keep your elbows stable and low. This will add stability to the position. Also, be sure to park your head at the side of his upper-torso and start putting pressure there. You then need to use your opposite arm and slide it underneath his armpit and over his shoulder from the other side. You can then use your hand to pull your opponent’s entire frame to one side.
What you then need to do is utilize this position. Keeping your arm on your opponent’s chest, you need to step away with your leg away from the opponent’s arm that you control. After you do this, you can drop down your hips. If you perform it properly, your opponent will begin to feel the strain on his legs. However, in most cases, he will remain clinging to his closed guard and he won’t open it just yet.
So, what you need to do is start using your free arm. Grab his Gi at the knee and start pushing it towards the ground. Your opponent will feel the increasing level of strain. In order to round things off, you will need to shoot your leg backward and this will help you bust open through your opponent’s guard. After you do this, you need to put your knee over your opponent’s – starting the pass. A bad thing that you can do here is let go of your opponent’s Gi at the knee. He will then be able to either close the half-guard or even retract his leg and get back to the full-guard position. You don’t want either of these things to happen while you do this technique.
So, you should keep your opponent’s Gi firmly in your grasp and not release it just yet. You will need to do one more thing before you do so. What you then need to keep putting pressure on your opponent’s chest and even increase the level of pressure there. To do this, you will need to stand up with your legs on your toes – this will increase the level of pressure that you put with your shoulder and head on your opponent’s torso – making him feel that much more uncomfortable in the process.
And finally, the final move that you should make is a slice through your opponent’s thigh with your other knee. If you do this, then it means that you have successfully cleared the opponent’s guard and that you have entered a more dominant position – side control. Once you feel like you’re in control – you will be able to let go of your opponent’s Gi at the knee and start attacking your opponent from the attained side-control position.
There are a few details that you will need to get right when doing the Tozi guard pass. You will see that it’s not that easy to perform this move with efficiency, especially at the beginning. Don’t let this discourage you. If you put your attention to putting your weight on top of your opponent properly and then pressurizing his legs so that you can bust open the guard – then half of your work is already done. We have already said that this is a very effective guard-pass technique, used even at the highest levels of BJJ. We hope that it works out for you, too. If you want to see a demonstration of the Tozi guard pass, then see the video below.
- Pressure Passing – Concept and Details
- Basic Guard Passes every White Belt should learn
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- Leg Drag Pass – Powerful and Effective Guard Pass