Guard Pass – The Manhwa That Every BJJ Practitioner Should Be Reading

Guard Pass – The Manhwa That Every BJJ Practitioner Should Be Reading

I understand the plight of BJJ fans. You’ve scoured the internet looking for a series that shows some real grappling. You can find thousands of manhwa and manga which would be love at first sight for most strikers. Maybe you even find some that have a hybrid, usually with a focus on the punches and kicks though. Well, you can cease with your despair. This Manhwa has it all. A loveable art style, a great plot and, of course, an accurate depiction of all of your favourite chokes and locks.

Now, just a disclaimer, there is a fair amount of striking involved. However, given the nature of the story, it is arguably better to include it. The majority of the fights, if not all, are street fights. It would deviate from the realism of the story if it were entirely absent. With that being said, there is still an incredibly heavy focus on grappling. Many BJJ practitioners are not familiar with how striking changes a fight. But this series shows how effective BJJ is in a street fighting scenario, so long as you stay mindful of strikes and adapt your strategy.

One more word of warning, some of these scenes can be quite bloody and involve joints not bending the way they should...

What is it about?

The story follows our protagonist, Lim Sejun, a rather overweight schoolboy who mostly just likes eating and playing video games. Pretty standard. More importantly, he’s not really a fighter. He is more the sort of person that would rather just take a slap on the chin and continue with his day.

Despite his normally gentle nature, one day a bully seems to be irritating him just a bit too much. This leads to the bully getting a pretty forceful mouthful of a sweet red bean bun.

Not many people would be too happy about getting smacked full throttle in the face, and this guy is no exception.

Now, when you get smacked by someone, it would be fair to say most people would want to beat the living hell out of the aggressor. Thus, Lim Sejun is unwillingly dragged into an altercation with a guy who has the temper of a bear.

Enter Seo Hajin, Sejun’s best friend. She is constantly pestering Sejun to come and join her gym, despite him declining every time she asks. She has always been incredibly protective of Sejun and absolutely adores him. Naturally, seeing one of the people she cares about most getting smacked does not put her in the best mood. This leads to her displaying a beautiful double leg takedown.

It should be note that Hajin is not like many other girls. She is a complete addict for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Not only that, but this lady is a purple belt. To people who are unfamiliar with the BJJ belt system, this may seem pretty unimpressive. There are many out there that consider a black belt to be the minimum if you want to prove yourself. But BJJ has one of the most difficult journeys to becoming a black belt, often taking 10 years or even longer! The real BJJ practitioners know just how scary and dangerous a purple belt can be, even if they are smaller and weaker.

As expected, Hajin makes quick work of this untrained jerk.

Unfortunately, this group of bullies can't handle this damage to their ego and start harrassing Hajin. Lim Sejun decides to take this matter into his own hands and confronts them. While he is able to handle most of them due to his overwhelming weight advantage, he starts to gas out quickly. The leader of the small rabble has, unbeknownst to Sejun, dabbled in BJJ. Sejun finds himself on the receiving end of a nasty guillotine.

Hajin once again appears to save the day. After knocking the bully off of him, she ends things swiftly with a tight armbar.

Hajin teases Sejun on having to be saved and once again tells him that he should join her gym, to which he declines, as expected. Sejun feels particularly annoyed by Hajin and unlike in his normal routine, does not walk with Hajin to her gym.

On the way to the gym, Hajin is attacked and left in a critical condition. Her face is badly brused and her left knee had been broken.

Sejun berates himself for not going with over such a petty argument. The police are unable to offer much assistance. Sejun then takes it upon himself to try to track down the perpetraitors himself. While Sejun finds some of the suspects he is defeated but saved by one of the instructors at Hajin's gym. Realising that he is not fit or skilled enough to take down the attackers down, he begins training BJJ.

Is the fighting realistic?

Throughout the story, you will see a number of techniques that you would definitely be taught in a standard BJJ class. Since it focusses on street fighting, of course the techniques used are going to be ones that are practical. This includes submissions like: armbars, guillotines, rear naked chokes, kimuras and the list really does go on.

None of the techniques used are too complex so don't go in thinking that you need a black belt to understand what is going on. If you have been training for half a year or so, you should be pretty familiar with most of what is being used. Maybe you have even landed some of these yourself!

What I really love is that it isn't delusional. I'm sorry to say but BJJ alone is not enough to completely prepare yourself for a real fight. Does it give you a massive advantage? Absolutely. Even as an experienced white belt, you should be able to toy with people that are a similar weight and strength to you if you can take the fight to the ground.

However, the story addresses issues that BJJ practitioners may not be trained for. Getting knee'd in the face when shooting a takedown is not a consideration for pure grapplers. Neither is getting ground and pounded because you pulled guard.

BJJ is unbelievably effective, but can leave you just as vulnerable if you don't add some variety into your training routine. This series makes that very clear. It further goes to display how you can expect BJJ to be used against different types of fighters. Dealing with a proficient wrestler can be just as scary as dealing with a skilled boxer. But the approach you use can be wildly different and I love how this manhwa demonstrates that.

Should you read it?

What differentiates this series from other action manhwas is the detail of the techniques used. If you would rather see someone take out 10 guys with one kick and send people flying through walls, then this definitely is not the series for you.

Ignoring the fight scenes, the plot is mostly a classic revenge story. If you are not the biggest fan of those sort of stories then this might not be for you. Additionally, while the plot is pretty good, that alone is not enough to make this series stand out.

If you are the kind of person that loves seeing bad people get put in their place, then you will probably want to check this out.

However, if you are into BJJ like me, you will be pleasantly surprised to see techniques used that you will hardly find anywhere else. You might even have a mild sense of pride from the esoteric knowledge of how these moves work. I reckon most people could see an americana being done and not understand how damaging it can be. And I can pretty much guarantee that no untrained person would be able to recognise spiderguard.

You may even find some moves used in there that you want to try out next time you spar! Please don't punch people in your BJJ class though ☹️

I absolutely think that this series is worth reading. What I will say is, if you find that you are really not enjoying it by chapter 15, you might not want to read the rest of it. But if you think it sounds interesting, I implore you to give it a try!

I read it here :D :

Thank you so much for reading!

Disclaimer: This post does not condone the use of martial arts as a way to harm others. Please use your skills responsibly 🐱