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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

14 December 2015

14/12/2015 - Teaching | Open Guard | Knee Cut Pass

Teaching #436
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 14/12/2015

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 (keep your elbow by your knee), 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.

A photo posted by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on



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, keeping your elbow low.

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. Imagine you have a short steel bar attaching your wrist to your driving knee, which you'll only detach as you switch into the underhook or collar grip.

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 I've included of Xande demonstrating a similar technique. 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.

If you are having trouble cutting across their knee, you can turn that slide into a more horizontal motion, sliding your knee right out. Make sure you have some upper body control when you do that: otherwise you could be presenting them with an easy route to your back. Ideally you'll have an underhook, but if not a firm grip on their same side collar is good too, keeping your elbow right down towards their hip. You don't want them to be able to establish their own underhook and start spinning to your back.
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Teaching Notes: Once again I'm limited by injury this week, although this time it was planned: new tattoo, so I won't be training normally for a week or two at least. I decided to drop the collar grip portion of the instruction tonight, based on my notes from last time (along with my personal move away from gripping a lot due to finger strain). However, while that does streamline things, it does also mean that people will tend to grab the knee to move it across. I'm therefore possibly just exchanging one complexity for another, meaning it may be best to keep that collar grip in.

Having said that, variations where you grip the knee and move it across are viable too. I'll try the collar grip again next time and see how that goes, while also keeping in mind some non-grip variations. Then I should have something solid going forward. Another pointer for next time would be getting that non-cutting foot out, as people instinctively don't base out with it. Something I could emphasise in the drill during warm-ups. Then there is the importance of keeping the elbow inside, which incidentally is easier when using that collar grip because your arm is already kind of in place.

I should also probably mention keeping your elbows inside. There were a couple of new people tonight, so I wanted to avoid going overboard on detail. As ever, there is that question of balance, complicated by different levels being present in the class. I'm looking forward to teaching this one again, lots of stuff to try out! :D

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