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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

21 July 2014

21/07/2014 - Teaching | Open Guard | Bullfighter Pass

Teaching #168
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 21/07/2014

Quick announcement before I start: the FREE women's class starts next week on Wednesday, 18:30-19:30 at Bristol Sports Centre! Hooray! Full details here. :D

To pass the open guard, it is advisable to grip on the inside of both their knees for control (though not everyone would agree on that: others suggest gripping lower on the trousers by their shin, knuckles facing forward, or even at the bottom of the trousers). The main danger is that they will try to loop their leg over your arm, which you can mitigate by gripping a little lower than the knee. If their legs are raised, twist your elbows in, so that your forearms are parallel to their lower legs. Be sure to keep your elbows inside their knees: if they do manage to loop an arm, you may need to release and then regrip back inside their knee.

That means you can then start to move their legs in several directions. There are many variations of the bullfighter pass (also called the toreador, toreana, toreada, toreando and matador, among other names. Google tells me the Portuguese for bullfighter is in fact 'toureiro'), but I think the simplest is to step back when you have that grip, so that the soles of their feet press into the floor. Straighten your arms and lean through them, so that all your weight is punching downwards towards the mat.

The aim is to prevent them being able to move their legs, so that you can now walk around before they are able to recover. As soon as you get past their knees, drop your leading shoulder into their hip, falling forward. Maintain at least one grip on their leg, as otherwise they may be able to start to recover by getting a leg in the way. Your next priority is to block their hips, so release one grip in order to bring an elbow around their far hip. Drive your near knee into their near hip, then move up into side control.


Teaching Notes: I think this is probably the simplest version to teach, but there are a lot of variations to choose from. I was aiming to pick something that was easy to pick up, which people could then hopefully build on, based on their own game. The more difficult choice will be what variation to add on Wednesday: I have one in mind, but I'll be checking through my notes again to see if that follows on best. I need something that shows a different way of using the bullfighter pass, so people can see different principles.

It was good to see that people were getting the idea and successfully using the pass in sparring. Also great that people were managing to switch between the bullfighter and the knee cut we did last week. :)

I found when drilling this in progressive resistance (as it was odd numbers) that the option of driving one leg to the floor and moving around worked a few times, as did shifting directions. Combining it with the knee cut can work too, though I wasn't doing that all that well myself. I think I'm probably going to go with the option of pushing forwards into them to get them to kick back, then redirecting their legs to pass. Even that has a bunch of variations, so again I'll need to think what the best option is. I'm looking forward to exploring it some more on Wednesday. :)


  1. Useful! I've not learned that one.

  2. Quite possible you've done one of the many variations, but yeah, good option to have in your toolbox. The principle applies to a bunch of different passes. :)