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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

28 February 2018

28/02/2018 - Teaching | Closed Guard | Single Underhook Pass

Teaching #761
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 28/02/2018

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One of the first guard passes most people learn is the single underhook, sometimes known as a smash pass (although confusingly, there is also a completely different pass you might see called the 'smash pass'. The joys of BJJ's non-standardised terminology). After you've opened their guard (this can also work off a failed armbar or triangle attempt on their part), you need to get one of your arms under their leg. Your other elbow – and this is absolutely key – must not slip in front of their other knee. If it does, then you're at risk of being triangled: they simply need to pull the arm forwards to move into a triangle set up, as your first arm is already out of the picture.

You don't want to leave that first arm under their leg, as unless you're much bigger, their leg is always going to be able to outpower your arm. Therefore you need to get their leg up onto your shoulder, either bumping it up with your arm, or dropping down to put your shoulder in place behind their knee. At that point, drive forward so that you're shoving their knee into their face. When you've got them stacked, reach your stacking side arm around their leg and grab their collar. I tend to go four fingers in, but a thumb in grip sets you up for a simple (if somewhat crappy, so it's mainly for distraction) forearm choke. You can also try grabbing their opposite shoulder.

Establish a wide base with your feet, pushing off your toes. As is generally the case with jiu jitsu, stay off your knees. Otherwise, you're transferring the pressure into the floor rather than into your partner. Keep on driving forward, turning the shoulder you have behind the leg downwards. Combined with your forwards pressure, that should slide their leg out of the way.

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Although it's tempting, try to avoid lifting your head to get past their legs, as that could provide them with space. Instead, you want to rely on your weight and pressure, finishing with that slight shift of your shoulder. To further enhance your stack, you can grab the back of their trousers, or alternatively put your other knee there as a wedge.

Teaching Notes: I was covering Kirsty's fundamentals class again. Coming up on your toes and lifting your bum in the air. A number of people asked what to do with the other hand, so that could be worth emphasising. I either put it on the leg on the ground to keep it pinned, or grab the trousers to lift them up further, helping your control as they have even more trouble moving in that position. I made sure to warn about the danger of injuring their neck, that's important to always point out with this pass.

Driving forwards enough, getting knee to the face. Safety element is key though, so it's a balance of the two. Clearing the arm out of the way with your knee. Also, it's all pressure, that is important to keep emphasising too.

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