Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 16/07/2014
With the knee cut pass, the basic idea is to step between their legs in open guard, with one leg on the outside. Of course, most people aren't going to just let you cut across their leg, so you'll need to get into a solid position to do it. A while back, Dónal showed me a good option for this, which he in turn learned from his instructor.
First off, you want to get a good grip on their legs, to limit their mobility: grabbing the material by their knees tends to be a good option. Next, you want a grip on their collar. If you simply reach for it, you're asking to get triangled. So, being careful to keep your elbows inside their legs, drive your leg forwards into theirs. Keep driving forward until you can safely grip high on their same side collar, pulling them back towards you as much as possible. You want to curl their body, so their shoulders are off the ground. This makes it much harder for them to sweep you.
Drop into a relatively low crouch, legs apart for base. They will probably have a foot on your hip at this point: if they do, your grip with be on the trouser material by their shin. Turn your leg inwards slightly, pressing into their foot. With the grip you have on their trousers, shove their leg down, swinging your own leg backwards, then stepping over their leg. The grip you have on their trousers is important here: you're going to roll your knuckles down so that they are pressing into the shin, straightening your arm. This provides a firm control.
Next, you're going to cut across their thigh (still on the leg you just stuffed with your grip), using your opposite knee. As you do, also be sure to yank them towards that side with your collar grip, again to prevent sweeps. Drop in low, trying to secure an underhook, also keeping your head in tight. To get the underhook, put your elbow on their side, then circle your arm around, rather than diving straight for the underhook. You can also just maintain your grip on their collar.
Either way, it is essential that you have your elbow inside. You don't want them to either be able to bring their arm inside for an underhook, or insert their knee in front of you. If they can manage the knee or the underhook, the pass isn't impossible, but it makes it a lot more difficult to finish.
When you've pinned their leg with your shin, you can switch your grip from their leg to their arm (or even better, just below their elbow) and pull up. To further establish control, you could try shoving your head next to theirs, like in the picture on the right. To finish, you'll slide through over their thigh. To secure your position, walk your hips back before you settle (there is a good Mendes brothers video on this), getting your hips underneath them to shove their legs out of the way. That's when you can then solidify your side control.
Teaching Notes: I've taught the knee cut before, when I split it into a basic and then a more detailed version. I wanted to try and condense that into one class this time, refining it to the most important details. There are three key details to emphasise: your initial grip, cutting your knee across and establishing control of the upper body.
I'm not sure I condensed it all that well: it still felt like there were a lot of details, rather than concise summary of key points I was aiming for. Then again, I don't think I was going over the top with details like I sometimes have in the past: either way, I'd like to refine the structure next time. It was especially cool to see a lot of people using the knee cut later in sparring, which hopefully indicates those details were useful. :)