I am not sure if this move has a name or not. Modern Jiu Jitsu vernacular would say that it is passing the knee shield or something like that. What I don't like about those descriptions is that it implies the knee shield is something special and there are many options from bottom half guard and knee shield is one type of half guard that you might choose to play. I don't feel that this delineation helps you learn Jiu Jitsu faster. The knee shield is simply good technique. Unless you are an advanced student, (mid blue belt and up), the passer should have to work to pass your guard. This includes getting past your knee/elbow connection.  Anyway, here is the move.

A quick correction before we get into the move. I showed the technique on Saturday as I would do it, which works well for me. Something I unintentionally left out was that anytime you place your arm between someones legs as shown in the technique above it can be hazardous for your arm. This can be an issue if you are trying to pull off the technique on someone much larger than you. I personally have never seen anyone get hurt from this, however it makes sense. If when you are threading your arm through your partners legs it feels like a bad idea, it probably is. A safer alternative grip would be you go under the top leg and then cup the bottom thigh with your palm, (thumb in - no fingers). That might even be a better way to do the technique. I have just had a lot of flight time with the way I taught it and thus it is my preferred method. On to the move. 

The key feature of this move is that I am "tacking" past my partners guard and gravity is powering just about all of it. I don't pass forward through my partners legs; I misalign his knees, place a pivot point on his torso (my head), lift my hips until I can free my knee, and then walk past his legs.

1) misalign the knees

In the video you see that I thread my arm through my partners legs as described above. I personally make a fist and place it on the floor by my partners hip. You may elect to use the alternate grip described above. Neither is wrong, it is preference. What I am trying to do is misalign his knees so that they are not one directly on top of the other. When his knees are aligned they have strength. When I place the top knee forward it becomes easier to flatten.

2) pivot point

That is all it is. There is no need to try and put a lot of pressure there, just place your head on your partners belly. This allows you pop up to your feet. Prior to doing this you need to control your partners bottom arm. Doing this in the reverse order makes it easy for your partner to push your head away. When doing this move real speed I will typically just thread my arm partway through my partners leg and search for his bottom arm. Once I capture the free arm I then post my head on my partners torso and pop my hips up.

3) free your knee

I showed this step twice in the video so that you can study it carefully. It is a tricky detail and there is a little more to it than meets the eye. Notice that when my knee is on the ground it is blocked by my partners leg. When I pop up you can see my knee through the space in my partners legs - that is where I pass my knee through. The trick is I don't drive my knee forward, I drive it backwards in the same direction as my partners knee. As this happens I give some of the weight of my hips to my partners legs. Because I set up all the angles correctly this flattens his legs and allows me to walk around flattening him out. 

4) let physics do its thing

All of the passes we will be showing involve getting the correct angle, taking away space correctly, and applying pressure correctly. When you check off all the appropriate boxes, the pass just happens. If it feels like you are muscling it then you probably are. Be patient with yourself and your partner as you are working with the material. Since this is physics, guess what? If you are much bigger than your partner you're probably going to have success with it sooner. That doesn't mean your better, it means your bigger than they are. Not a bad thing at all, but be aware of it. If you are smaller than your partner - be careful where you place your arms and know that when you're on top gravity is your friend.  Once you get the set up down the big G is on your side. A big part of Jiu Jitsu is learning when you can and cannot give your weight to your partner and letting gravity do the heavy lifting. Be patient with partners bigger than you. They are trying to learn this AND learn how much weight is too much. Both tasks are take a little while to master and everyone in the room is getting a little better with each practice.


Order of operations is important in Jiu Jitsu. All of the passes we will be showing this week involve addressing the legs first and then passing. If the half guard player does a good job with their shell it prevents the top person from just diving forward and passing. I don't use the whole power of my body against the whole power of your body, I use the whole power of my body against your legs at the correct angle then just walk past your guard. Good Jiu Jitsu should feel easy to do and not like a football tackle. Besides that, tricking your friend with solid well timed technique is way more fun!

See everyone on the mat!