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Deal with the Knee Shield Like A Pro with Tom DeBlass

Deal with the Knee Shield Like A Pro with Tom DeBlass


If you train BJJ, you probably encounter the knee shield almost every time you spar. The knee shield can create huge problems for us while we're trying to make our passes stick. And if your partner has good knowledge of bottom half guard, their shield can feel like a brick wall. I’ve been shown literally dozens of ways to deal with the knee shield, some of them have worked, some of them haven’t. I tend to prefer simpler techniques that don’t require tons of movement, so I can stay tight to my partner, and not give them the space to recompose their guard. In any case, we need to have methods to pass that keep us in the game.

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Check out this video from Tom DeBlass. He gives us some insight on how he chooses to deal with the shield, and put himself in position to ultimately pass. Have a look!

DeBlass begins by stepping up his right leg, and placing his foot tight to his partner’s hip. He then slides his free knee close to his partners hip to help flatten him. DeBlass takes a moment here to drive home a key point. Anytime were in bottom half guard, or even closed guard, we always fight to achieve angles and to be on our side. These first couple of steps put DeBlass’s partner flat, stealing these important key factors of being on the bottom, and putting his partner at a disadvantage from the start.

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By pinching his partners thigh with his right leg and tucking his left leg under his partner, DeBlass stays safe from the leg lock. Next, DeBlass acquires his partners head, and lifts it off of the mat. He’s now in position to switch his hips, push his partners knee down, and pop his knee free. Here, the shield has been eliminated, and DeBlass is now free to pursue the pass without the threat of the knee shield.

With a simple step up of his right leg, DeBlass eliminates the shield, puts himself in position to leg lock, and also flattens his partner. This detail alone is worth its weight in gold. Whether DeBlass chooses to go to the quarter mount or his partner recomposes half guard, the fact remains that the knee shield has been removed, making a full pass of the guard much easier to pursue.

Improve your submission defense by watching Tom DeBlass' Submission Escapes DVD! You can get this great series here!


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