Both Allie, and Jennifer have blogged this week about passing guard... and here is yet another one.
The one bonus of having taken a 9 month break is all of my bad habits have been broken. Slightly less awesome that my good habits have also been broken, but I clearly remember several things I used to do ALL the time out of habit that would instantly land be triangled, or barred in some way. I don't do those things anymore. I also don't insta-sweep my favorite sweep anymore the second it is available. (Obviously, I am talking about on people my own level.)
But as a whole, I think this is a good thing for me.
I used to always, regardless of who I was grappling.... 100 pound woman, or 250 pound man, pull guard, or at the very least go to my back and try to pull guard. I had myself convinced it was easier to pull guard and sweep to get to a top position. (Even though, half the time my opposition was just flat unsweepable.)
Now that I don't purely do it out of habit I realize, holy crap, passing is the easier route to the top. But I find that now I am more often the sweep-ee not the sweeper. I do think that is the nature of the game though... you can't be swept if you are already on the bottom. That and my general skill level anyway. Having an awesome guard pass is my new goal. First step toward that is stop sucking at passing guard.
Monday night I was talking to our of out black belts after class (Yes, plural! We have more than one now! Sorry, I still think that is kind of exciting.) and he asked me what I felt I needed to work on. I told him guard passes. He asked me what I currently did, and he tweaked a few things I am doing wrong. I am leaning backward slightly when I should be sitting straight up, which is the leading cause of my being swept. Then once I do break the legs open, I am not getting low enough, and not properly trapping the leg closest to the mat, and lastly when I do the double under hook shuck pass thing I am shucking the legs off of me at an angle versus bringing their knees to their face and moving myself around the legs instead of moving the legs around me.
Those are my MAJOR errors. I had a lot more slightly less mindblowingly wrong ones.
He also showed me a more stable hand placement for when I am breaking the legs, and a better place to grip the hips once I am passing.
I'm trying not to let all this wonderful information fall out of my brain before I get a chance to use it... Curse my once a week grappling!