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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

19 January 2015

19/01/2015 - Teaching | Open Guard | Knee Cut

Teaching #263
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 19/01/2015

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 will 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.
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Teaching Notes: I went with the push into their ankle for this pass, using the 'v' of your finger and thumb, rather than the knuckle-down grip. As ever, the stuff to emphasise is blocking their knee coming through and maintaining pressure. This should be handy for when I come to teach half guard next month, as I can cover knee shield passes then.

A people were having trouble going diagonally, I think because I mentioned about driving forward with the knee to get a grip. That meant some people were driving that knee all the way into the stomach or further, making it harder to cut across. Probably not something that would happen much outside of drilling, but worth keeping in mind: I don't want to over-emphasise driving the knee in, if it is affecting the knee cut finish (having said that, it's of course not a bad thing to get that knee deep, it just lends itself to a different pass).

There are still a few people who don't have a gi, meaning that grip is not going to be as useful for them. I saw Saulo doing a grip around the hip instead on BJJ Library, so that might be an option. I need to have a play with it myself, as I like that collar grip, but the hip grip looks interesting. Also a good way to give your fingers a rest, as techniques like the 'pin the legs' bullfighter pass variation can be hard on your grips.

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