The over under pass is a staple pass among pressure passes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I sued to rely on it quite a lot in the gi, before people started figuring out certain counters and blocks that made it difficult for me to get past their legs using the over under. Luckily, I ended up at a camp where a black belt called Aaron Ross showed me a new and improved version of the over under pass.
The Bernardo Faria Over Under Pass
Bernardo Faria is the man who is accredited as being the most proficient with the use of the over under pass. The 5xWorld Champion was a nightmare for guard players, and his take on the over under pass was so effective that his version became the golden standard version of the pass.
The only issue is that Bernardo is a heavyweight, and I am a featherweight, and the body position did not result in the same pressure as Bernardo’s whenever I tried following in his suit.
The Bernardo Faria over under pass starts by getting one of our arms underneath an opponent’s leg (under side) with the grip on the opponent’s belt and the other arm controlling the opposite side pants from the top side (over side).
Bernardo places pressure on the abdomen via his shoulder as he lifts his butt in the air to walk his legs to the inside of the opponent, opening up police for a backstep that leads past the legs. He then uses a hip rewind motion to keep the legs blocked and ends up in cross side control.
When doing the pass like this, I had trouble because people with longer legs used to trouble me with a sticky hook with the leg I was controlling on the over side. Moreover, stronger people would push my head and attack the elbow of the over side, as it was exposed during the pass.
I also had trouble grabbing and establishing a crossface after getting past the legs, with people able to grip the sleeve on my over side arm and prevent me from going forward.
Upgrading the BJJ Over Under Pass
The following upgrades to the over under pass do not mean Bernardo’s style of the over under pass does not work. On the contrary, it may work better for some people. I have found that Aaron Ross’ style and details solve my problems with the over under pass.
Moreover, whenever I taught the pass to others using this approach, I’ve gotten the same feedback, particularly from smaller framed people – it works effortlessly compared to the old-school version.
Your grip placement during the over under pass is crucial to prevent people from deconstructing the pass position, as it relies highly on the grips in specific positions.
The grip on the under side goes to the belt or the pants, and the detail si that you toll your shoulder up to the back of the thigh as you pull back with your elbow to lift the hip on that side.
The grip on the overside has a couple of things that must be precisely set up. First up, when you grab the pants, you need to grab them below knee level, creating a pocket grip. You also want to roll all your weight on the shoulder on that side, effectively twisting the over arm and completely hiding your elbow from any possibility of a Kimura.
These are all grip details you should do before passing the legs.
After passing the legs, you’ll need to deal with possible counters involving grips that may undo all your hard work. The main issue is people grabbing onto the sleeve of the over side arm and using it to push, blocking you from passing forward.
One way to break this grip is to use your knee to pin your arm and pull your arm out.
Another is to let them have the grip and change the angle of moving upward from perpendicular to parallel. As you slide forward on your opponent’s torso, the grip will have no power to block you from moving. This was a particular over under pass game changer detail for me.
One more position where your arm might get stuck is when you try to crossface the bottom person after passing. Here, biceps grips are annoyingly difficult to shake off unless you are expecting them and know how to deal with them.
What you can do here is either pull your palm to your hips forcefully, like a gunslinger, before shooting it back out to crossface, or simply imagine you’re punching a hook over the opponent’s body to the other side. Works every time for me.
The Hips are the next key movement in the over under pass. To avoid getting stuck with a sticky hook and to further put pressure on while hiding your over side arm from Kimuras, you should aim to walk your legs slightly inwards first, just like Bernardo does.
However, after you do, you aim to tilt your hip significantly to the outside, changing the angle at which your inside leg makes contact with the opponent’s leg on the over side. This takes all the weight of the leg that you need to move up and away, and it makes the motion you do a lot smaller and easier to control.
Once both your legs are to the outside of an opponent, your focus is to push the knee of the leg that is near their hips behind their butt, making them fold sideways so that they can’t turn you over using momentum.
Once there, you look for the crossface, making sure to be aware of any counters the opponent might try to sue against your grips.
Finally, something that really bothered me during the over under pass was that people were somehow always finding a way to push my head across their torso, which basically kills the over under.
The answer was to tuck the chin to where your hand is on the under side. As long as the chin stays firmly tucked on that side until you get to the crossface, there is no way anyone will be able to move your head because of the angle of the spine and the pressure of your shoulder.
The over under pass is a very high percentage way of dealing with the half guard in particular, especially if you are a fan of pressure passing. However, the details Aaron Ross teaches are game changers when it comes to smaller grapplers benign able to utilize this pass against people of their size and bigger opponents as well.
Ogi is a black belt that does Jiu Jitsu full time and is very passionate about anything grappling-related.
He is also the head coach of Enso Jiu Jitsu in Macedonia and an aspiring Globetrotter.