At the beginning of your Jiu Jitsu Journey, it can be pretty overwhelming to start passing guard against someone just sitting in front of you without grips. Where do you start? Which grips should you establish first in order to not fall into a strong guard where you might get swept or submitted? The basic knee cut pass is a solid option, but it can be improved upon.
Jon Thomas is a black belt under Master Romero “Jacaré” Cavalcanti and Lucas Lepri. In this video, he demonstrates the Blast version of the knee cut pass that is nothing short of demoralizing for the person whose guard just got obliterated!
Upgrading The BJJ Knee Cut Pass
Knee cut pass, knee slice pass, knee smash pass… no matter the name, you’ve heard of it, done it, or had it done to you. The knee cut pass is a part of almost everyone’s game for two main reasons – it works at all levels and is readily available from a wide range of passing positions.
The mechanics of the knee cut are easy, although figuring out the base and balance can be tricky. Basically, for the knee cut, you want to have your opponent’s thigh pinned to the floor with your shin, while having your other leg outstretched to provide a base. If you think of the position as a knee on belly variation, you’ll understand why it is so effective in holding someone mid-pass.
The knee cut pass is a staple because grapplers of all belts, sizes, sexes, and ages can do it effectively against different types of opponents. However, because of its common usage, most people know a few common counters and defenses to the pass.
In order for the pass to remain effective it had to evolve, and there are different variations of it available today. Jon Thomas’ Blast knee cut is one of the more efficient and unstoppable ones out there.
The Blast Knee Cut Pass
The most common situation from which to use this pass is when your partner sits up and both of you are grip fighting. First, you will need to keep the distance so you can ensure you are the one who is initiating the action when you start to pass. Aim the tip of your knee for the gap between your partner’s elbow and knee.
A way to make this gap bigger is by grabbing the hand on the side you want to pass to and lift a little bit, then you blast your knee through this gap to the ground. At the same time, try to catch the underhook on the opposite side.
For the blast to work, though, you need to have a solid understanding of the knee cut pass position, given that that Blast works off of the basic version. In fact, by adding the Blast to your arsenal people will become wary of the pass and start to extend a leg to try and close the gap. While this will make the Blast less effective, it will give you an opening to go for a normal knee cut!
The pass works against both seated and supine opponents. You can choose to blast on both sides and combine the blast not just with a regular knee cut pass, but also with other similar passes, like the X-pass and backstep pass.
At the end of the video, Jon Thomas offers some troubleshooting and ideas for how you can make the pass work for you. For example, try stepping on the foot of the partner or pushing the guy flat to the floor.
Whether you’re just learning how to pass the guard or are working on perfecting your passing, the blast knee cut is a great addition to your arsenal! Jon Thomas’ Blast knee cut is a great addition to any passing game, but will work best if you already have a decent understanding of the basic knee cut.