The superman pass is one of the most basic guard passes. It is a great way to learn both weight distribution and pressure. While using it against an opponent, they very often will use defenses that open up another great and simple guard pass; the old school pass.
Where the superman pass shows you how to be heavy with your hands and pin your opponents hips that way, the old school pass uses weight of the shoulders and hips.
In conjunction these passes are a extremely powerful. This post will explain them both separately, and then show how to combine them for an even more effective passing style.
The Superman To The Old School Pass
The Superman Pass
Two principles that apply directly to the superman pass are circling back and forth to tire out your opponent, and using your leverage to pin your opponent’s hips to the mat. Let’s check out these principles in action of the pass.
The first point, pinning your opponent’s legs and hips to the mat, is done with the correct grips and weight distribution. Start by standing in front of your partner with them laying on their back. With your right hand grab their belt or pants at their left hip, with your left hand grab their pants at the inside of their right knee. Now back your feet out until you are in a very spread kind of football stance. You should be driving off your feet into your partner, not holding your weight on your legs. Keep as much weight on your partner’s knee and hip as possible, because this is what will keep them pinned to the mat.
Now with circling, you want to circle towards the knee that you have pinned. So following the example above you would circle to your left. Make sure to keep pushing into your partner to keep their hip and knee pinned down as much as possible. Once you have circled further than your partners knee you will punch your left hand down to bring your partners knee down, opening up a spot for you to take side control.
Now that is really just the beginning of your circling, because 9 times out of 10 in training your opponent will start to block you from coming into side control even before you start moving in. At that point you would switch your hands to the mirrored positions, so your left hand would move from their right knee to their right hip, and your right hand would go from their left hip to their left knee. Once your hands are switched you would start circling in the other direction, towards their newly pinned knee.
A huge piece of the superman pass is circling from side to side as your opponent tries to block you coming into side control. At some point though, they will get tired and slow down just enough for you to get an opening to take the pass.
Drill this by just circling back and forth, focusing on being heavy at first, then on moving quickly while staying heavy. Have your partner communicate how heavy you are, and if they can easily move their legs around.
The Old School Pass
This is one of my favorite guard passes because it’s simple and grueling for your opponent. It uses tremendous pressure and weight to force your way around their legs into side control.
To start this pass, you will be on your knees in front of your partner who is on their back in a basic open guard. Swim your right hand under their left leg and lift it so their hamstring is rested on your shoulder. *Make sure that your left arm is out from between their legs, since your head is inside the legs and one arm is out you have to be weary of the triangle.* Now that their leg is rested on your shoulder, reach up with your right hand and feed it into a cross collar grip. I like to use a thumb in grip, but four fingers in works well too.
That is the set up for the old school pass, now for the fun part. Once you have a good grip on the collar, bring your legs back so you are sprawling onto their hamstring, really driving into their leg. Try to imagine pushing your partner’s knee into their head while keeping heavy on their hamstring. This gets extremely uncomfortable and debilitating for your partner, so they will pretty much want you to take the pass. Slowly circle towards your right hand and your partners head, keep heavy and driving into their body. Once you feel their leg start pushing into you more, slightly turn your head towards their free leg, this will allow their trapped leg to slide down your body and bring your into side control.
Once again, stay weary of the triangle choke, because if you let your left arm in between their legs its right there for them to take. As long as you keep that arm safe though, you are bound to get the pass through a grueling routine of smashing weight on your opponent.
You might have noticed that each of these passes has a strong suit and a weak suite. The superman pass is very easy to set up, setting your grips and starting the pressure; while the old school ass has a near unstoppable finish, circling to take side control. The superman’s weak point is definitely the finish of the pass though, since there is so much space between you and your opponent’s body they have time to adjust and defend the finishing dive for side control. For the old school pass, it can be difficult to get into the hamstring on shoulder position, which is crucial to obtain the pass.
It’s almost like they… complete each other. That’s exactly why they work so well together! Hitting the superman pass can be difficult, but using it to set up the old school pass gives you both and easy setup and a monster of a finish to the pass. Here’s how it works:
Once you circle for the superman pass, your opponent will at some point bring their free leg in to help block you from taking side control. At that point you just need to swim the hand that was on their hip around their free leg and toss it up onto your shoulder. The opening to get into the old school pass position is right there, it’s all about using the superman pass to get your opponent to over compensate a bit too much for their own good.
From the point of tossing their leg onto your shoulder it is just continuing on with the old school pass. Just keep control of their leg and start pressing it into their head. Once again, have your partner communicate if you aren’t being heavy enough on them since that is a key to the pass’ success.