BJJ Notebook

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Defending the knee side pass part 2

Here’s Rob’s defence again, as a GIF:


The frame and hip escape defence is basic, but it works. Things to note:

  1. Grip. The ‘thumb down’ grip on the collar, with the stiff arm is acting as a frame.
  2. Elbow. He gets to his elbow with the other arm immediately.
  3. Hip escape. Once frame and elbow are in place, you can hip escape and get your guard back.
  4. Don’t wait. If you wait for them to settle in with their knee on the ground, you’re going to get passed.

But perhaps the biggest thing to note is that he is using the hip escape in conjunction with a frame. You need the frame to stop their weight from landing on you. But Rob always has his other elbow on the mat when he does this. If you frame while you are lying flat then you’re not going to be able to hip escape out of there. So, the main thing is – move!

Defending the X pass/step around pass

This one is left to last in the instructional, and Rob doesn’t spend much time on it, so you can easily miss out the fine details because it only gets one run through. That’s a shame as it’s of equal importance to me as the knee cut defence.

The X pass is a common pass in jiujitsu.

X pass by Saulo:

The defence Rob shows also relates to any kind of pass where the attacker steps around your leg and puts a shin in just past your hip, looking for a knee on belly. As I said, I find the standing step pass is just as common as the knee cut, so should be been given equal attention.

Standing step pass, demonstrated by Peter Robson:

Rob’s defence to both would be the same:


Rob is using exactly the same concept of frame and hip escape here, but notice the key detail that he’s facing in an entirely different direction to the way he used it to defend the previous knee cut pass. When that knee comes in towards you, you need to get the habit of blocking it with your hand to frame and then turning away before recovering guard with a hip escape. This is often difficult for BJJ students, since we are usually taught to never turn away from the attacker, because you give your back. Here’s though there’s no danger of getting your back taken as your frame is between your back and the opponent.

If that knee comes in deep you need to use your elbow as a frame instead of you hand. Which Rob also shows:



Go back to part 1

Go to part 3



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