In the months leading up to my trip to Brazil, I'd spent a lot of time on top position and guard passing.
Bullfighter, leg drag, you name it. My goal was to bring my guard passing up to about the level of my closed guard game so as to not be completely unbalanced. Coming from Judo, I'd spent years grappling but with not a lot of finesse or much of an arsenal off my back. I spent about 4 1/2 years once I started going to Jiu-Jitsu classes playing off my back, closed guard, sweeping, et cetera.
At any rate, the biggest thing I took from my trip to Brazil was the emphasis on passing with pressure. It may just have been the 2 schools I visited, but at both places, the emphasis was on driving forward, insisting and forcing the pass in order to develop that crushing pressure.
"Butt down" and "hips lower" were what I heard every time I rolled.
While not aesthetically pleasing perhaps, DJ Jackson shows the efficacy of this insistence on the pass in beating Cyborg at the Pro Trials in NJ/NYC.
3 years ago, I watched Cyborg walk through the black belt division at the Pro Trials without hardly breaking a sweat.
Seeing DJ beat him him is pretty damn impressive.
Ultimately, Cyborg's decision to let DJ try to pass and try to pass and try to pass and accept bottom position runs down the clock and leaves him with too little time to recoup points near the end of the match. Cyborg finally gives up an advantage around 5:30 on the video (not sure the time left in the match exactly) and is now forced to get moving. DJ needs only drain the clock and does so to get the cash and plane ticket to Abu Dhabi.
6 minute matches at that level are an interesting time limit that forces a different pace and different approach to time management. They also magnify the value of even an advantage as one advantage just made the different in thousands of dollars cash and a free trip to Abu Dhabi.
On a sad note, having done the Pro Trials in the past, the registration portion is such a hassle now, that it's become essentially the big schools trying to win a free trip to Abu Dhabi, and the smaller schools of less renown not filling out the brackets.
You have to register your school, and your instructors have to be verified and blah blah *&^%ing blah. So, you either have to have your school/instructors foot that bill or that gets tacked onto your travel, hotel/hostel, food, car rental if necessary, and registration fee.
Way to make it harder for competitors to participate.