Craig Jones Power Top Review: 3 styles to pass

The only reason Craig Jones filmed Power Top was so he could let his inner 14 year old make as many sex jokes as he could – at least that’s the sense you get from watching it.

I happen to share Craig’s terribly childish sense of humor. If you do too, that’s great. But even if you don’t, you might want to watch this instructional to learn how to pass guard in no gi. In this review I’ll tell you what Craig Jones covers in Power Top and my experience with it.

TitlePower Top: Penetrate And Pull Out Of Dangerous Entanglements
InstructorCraig Jones
Total duration5 hours and 9 minutes
Publication year2022
Where to buyHere on BJJ Fanatics

Craig jones power top cover

Learn to pass modern no gi guards with Craig Jones’ Power Bottom

Pass like Craig

Also read: Top 10 Best Craig Jones Instructionals (& 6 to Avoid)

What’s Power Top about?

Power top is about passing guard in no gi. The subtitle suggests it’s also about pulling out of leg entanglements, but there’s only 1 very short section about getting out of single x guard.

Craig Jones’ Power Top approach

The power top mentality that Craig pushes on you is to never give the bottom guy anything.

So this instructional is not about how to pass guards, like de la riva, closed guard, and so forth. The point is to prevent the bottom guy from ever getting a guard in the first place.

In Craig’s words, you learn how to penetrate and pull out (sigh) before your opponent gets a guard – so you’re always putting pressure but you never get stuck.

How to pass guard like a power top

Craig Jones distinguishes 3 different types of guard players: people who are on their back, seated and trying to get up. He says we need to pass very differently depending on which type we face.

How to pass guard against people on their back

To pass guard against people on their back we need to use side to side passing. So we keep stepping around them to then put pressure from north south style positions while we’re still standing. (Craig shares some great details for where exactly you should step to put maximum pressure with minimum effort.)

The goal is to fatigue the opponent very fast. By going to north south style positions we force the opponent to continually do crunches to pummel their legs back inside, which is exhausting. We don’t fully commit to passes before the opponent is tired because we could get countered.

What’s super interesting is that this is exactly the strategy that Kade Ruotolo used to beat Lachlan Giles in ADCC 2022. Lachlan GIles is arguably one of the best guard players from his back in no gi, to this is very impressive.

How to pass guard against seated players

To pass guard against seated players Craig pushes them to their back and foces them to get back up, which is tiring. He also threathens body lock passes as they get back up. He also stays aware of the threat of shin on shin guard, which he tries to prevent in a few different ways.

How to pass against people who try to get up

Craig Jones is on a crusade to make jiu jitsu more effective in MMA. I quote from this instructional:

There’s nothing more embarrassing than a pure jiu jitsu guy that cannot hold down an MMA fighter.
Those guys spend only a 3rd of their time practicing pure grappling – arguably even less because it’s so hard to be effective with pure jiu jitsu in MMA.
So we should know how to hold them down. If we get the sweep we get them down. If they do an unorthodox escape that’s not used in jiu jitsu, we should know how to beat them.
They’re responses are unusual, but we should be able to out grapple them.

Craig Jones – Power Top

Craig Jones is right.

I myself often have trouble with holding down big, explosive, MMA type people, and he’s right: it’s embarassing.

The Khabib pinning system that Craig explains in his Power Ride dvd helps a lot with holding MMA guys down after you pass, but in this dvd you also learn how to hold them down during the pass. Craig explains how to prevent getups with the underhook, and how to break people down from a 4 point position to a turtle, to a hip and then to a pin.

Also read: Craig Jones power ride review: 3 Key takeaways

My experience

Somehow this instructional didn’t really land with me. There’s a few reasons for that:

  • I like the concepts for passing people on their back – but not a lot of my training partners play this style of guard. I play this style of guard a lot, so it’s interesting so see how people should pass me. But I can’t practice on other people.
  • It’s very no gi specific, especially the part about passing people on their back. I train in the gi half the time, and Craig says this style doesn’t work as well in the gi because people can get spider guard…
  • This instructional is quite broad – it covers 3 styles of passing – but not so broad that it covers everything. It doesn’t cover how to pass specific guards, how to force half guard, things like that. Personally I would rather have either a very big and broad instructional that covers absolutely everything, or a more specific dvd that covers 1 area in more detail.
  • I don’t enjoy pulling out – I understand that it’s very effective to pull out before your opponent gets a guard. But I feel like I learn slower if I spend half the time pulling out. I think I learn quickest if I keep the action going the whole time, rather than trying to tire out my opponent before I engage. (So I think pulling out is great for competitions but not for training.)

But I should add that I really enjoyed watching the instructional, even though I can’t implement too much of it. Craig is funny, interesting and to the point, as always.

My verdict

In this review I tried to give you a lot of objective information about Power Top by Craig Jones. Because I personally didn’t love this instructional, but I can see how other people can love it.

I think that if you focus more on no gi and on winning competitions than I do, this is a great instructional. It gives an overview of modern guard passing, exactly how you saw it a lot in ADCC 2022. And Craig’s a great teacher as always, with great details, jokes here and there and not oo much repitition.

Craig jones power top cover

Learn from Craig Jones how to be a safe and gentle top passer

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