The Knee Cut Guard Pass, Revisited

Another Version of a Familiar Move

We’ve worked the “knee cut” (a.k.a. “the knee cutter” and/or the “knee slicer”) more than once, here, and there’re good reasons for that. For one, this is an essential guard pass that’s worth extra drilling and attention. For another, there are, as with most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu moves, variations on the knee cut that make it sneakier and more versatile than you might guess.

Our first examination of the knee cut showed a no-gi version that was pretty different from out recent tutorial on the gi version. This time’re going to work a version that’s more similar to our first knee cut breakdown, but this time also with a gi.

Video Demonstration: The Knee Cut Pass

In the following video, Marcos Avellan – representing Florida’s Freestyle Fighting Academy – demonstrates the (no-gi) knee cut pass. If you happen to live in Miami, check that gym out; if you live in Rhode Island, you already know that Black Diamond MMA is where to find the best BJJ instruction.

Versions of the Knee Cut

As you may remember, the knee cut we discussed last time involved slicing across your opponent’s mirror-image-side* thigh, then back-stepping your other leg. That is, if you were inside your opponent’s guard and trying to pass to your opponent’s right side (your left), you’d have cut your left knee over your opponent’s right thigh.

This time, we do the reverse – and it’s closer to our original knee cut tutorial (see link above). So, this time, if you want to pass to the same side, you’ll slice your right knee over your opponent’s right thigh. You still make it to side control either way, but the nuances and dangers are different, so it’s wise to study both methods.

As with the other versions, this is a pass from open guard, and it works whether you’ve just broken open your opponent’s guard or you’ve yet to engage with him.

BDMMA Technique Breakdown: The Knee Cut (Again)

For simplicity’s sake, we assume that you still want to pass to your opponent’s right side (towards your left). If the situation’s reversed, switch the directions.

  1. Control your opponent’s upper body.
    1. Grab your opponent’s collar (near his neck) on the side opposite the one you want to pass to. So, if you’re going to your left, grab your opponent’s collar with your right hand and on the right side of his neck.
    2. Grab your opponent’s sleeve on the side you want to go to. So, again, if you’re passing to your left, you’ll grab your opponent’s right sleeve with your left hand.
  2. Drive your opponent down to the mat.
    1. Using your grip on the collar, you can force your opponent down onto his right side.
    2. By jerking upward on your opponent’s right sleeve, you can both limit his range of motion and prevent him from posting on that arm.
  3. Slice your knee across the thigh.
    1. As we mentioned above, you’ll cut your knee diagonally. Your right knee will cross your opponent’s right thigh.
    2. As with the other knee-cut versions, you’ll pin the thigh with your shin. Your right foot will be between your opponent’s legs and your right knee will be outside on the mat by his hips.
  4. Sit on your heel.
    1. This step is easily forgotten, but crucial to preventing your opponent from taking control of your right leg and working to quarter- or half- guard.
  5. Apply downward pressure and free your other leg.
    1. Drive your right elbow into your opponent’s top (left) side.
    2. Especially as your opponent tries to roll up to face you, you can flatten him out again using that elbow.
    3. Kick your left leg out from in between your opponent’s.
  6. Consolidate good side control.

* I should not be allowed to invent nomenclature.

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