Guard Passing: The Trojan Horse of Personal Development

Updated: Oct 14


The mindset of disciplined guard passing has allowed me to be more productive in every area of my life.

Guard passing is simple and the lack of options is beautiful: If you find yourself in a guard, any guard, the only available action to is pass that guard. This singularity of focus allows us to practice hyper-directed powers of attention, put forth massive effort with moment to moment assessment of the situation, and practice a resolve so rarely asked of us in daily life.

Think back to the last time you trained with your favorite training partner. Remember being on top, inside their guard. Nothing in the world mattered more (or for that matter existed) than your sole aim of smashing their guard. That laser-like attention and commitment to a predetermined end sharpens your will in a way that modern life simply does not allow. You were practicing passing the guard, but you were learning to focus and put your entire being unmitigated toward a goal.

It is this steadfast purpose that benefits the rest of our lives. We know where we want to go and we put our head down until we arrive. We alter our course as the guards change but we always move forward. Successful people live how great guard passers pass. It is only once we reach side control that our partner realizes it was an inevitability. They were hoping we wouldn’t pass; we knew we would. And that, as Robert Frost said, has made all the difference.

Invest time in your guard passing. Truly seek to master it. Not only will this make you invincible on top, as sweeps and submissions will become increasingly rare, but you will learn to put your full attention into an endeavor worthy of your choosing, and develop a resolve so rarely found in this world.

Pass the guard. But always remember, we are passing through our inborn weakness.

The greatest benefits of Jiu Jitsu will always have nothing to do with grappling.


If you want to read Chris’s latest book on personal development, check it out here.

If you would like to be coached by Chris personally, click here.

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