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Dismantle The Best Knee Shields! With Matheus Diniz

Dismantle The Best Knee Shields! With Matheus Diniz


If your train BJJ, you’ve encountered a knee shield. This important structural piece of framing is a very common method of creating space and defending the guard pass. There are Professional BJJ athletes that have made entire careers out implementing the knee shield, and using it to completely dismantle guard passers. There’s good reason for all of this. The knee shield provides a lot of integrity when it comes to establishing a half guard position. If you understand how to position the knee shield and apply it to certain situations it can become almost impenetrable and lead to some great offense.

Getting passed a good knee shield is no easy task. If there is a certain level of proficiency present it can seem almost impossible. Storied competitors such as Tom DeBlass, among many others have created knee shield games that have weather the storms of the best guard passers in the business. With intense focus and lots and lots of training these elite level competitors have created brick walls that passers rarely see the other side of. 

So how do we get past a great knee shield?

Matheus Diniz is very well known for his aggressive passing style. He’s simple and direct in his methods with a touch of trickery to throw guard players off. With his gold medal performance at ADCC this year he once again revealed to the grappling world that he has the tools to be successful at the very highest levels. Diniz’s performance culminated with a match against Craig Jones int eh final where Diniz was able to best Jones with a beautiful guard pass late in overtime. Diniz claimed ADCC gold without one point being scored on him in the tournament. Let that sink in…  

Since his performance at ADCC Diniz has put together a collection of no gi guard passing material for BJJ Fanatics entitled, No Gi Power Passing. With this instructional we get an inside look at what makes Diniz’s top game so unbelievably successful. In this sample from the series we get an inside look at how Diniz likes to approach the knee shield. Check this out! 


Leading off with some sage advice, Diniz makes us aware of his two biggest concerns when it comes to the knee shield, the under hook, and the guard player getting underneath. These are huge pitfalls when it comes to passing the knee shield and themes to be constantly wary of. 

As he begins to set up, Diniz makes a post with his outside leg (his left leg in this instance). He then turns his attention to his partners bottom hand. This is the hand that will give us trouble as far as the “getting underneath” concept goes, so Diniz is sure to pin it straight away. He offers two different ways to grip the wrist and leaves the choice to the passer. With the arm pinned, Diniz now looks to control the opposite hip and put pressure on the shield. Here, he uses a weave and cups the thigh to accomplish this. 

Stuck in the guard? Try some Power Passing! Click Learn More


Staying heavy, Diniz begins to use his head as a “third hand” and finds a home for it on his partners chest. He then begins to rise up on to his toes, extends his legs, and pommels his left foot to the outside of his partners guard. Pinning the bottom shin. Don’t get greedy here. Its easy to see a light at the end of the tunnel at this juncture but your work is not finished yet and its still very possible for the bottom player to recompose their guard. Be sure to clear your leg and get it to the outside of the guard before you start to hunt for the head. 

Ready for a piece of gold? 

It's very common that at this point during the pass, the guard player will begin to extend their body in order to keep the passer from acquiring the head. As this occurs, Diniz reaches over the top of the head instead of under it, cupping the back of the neck and keeping his partner from extending any further. This is a really great detail. How many times have you struggled from here trying to capture that cross face? Amazing stuff. This new grip over the top will allow Diniz to travel all the way to north south and settle in to begin attacking. Through all of these movements, Diniz reminds us to NEVER let up with our pressure. For this pass to work, pressure must remain as a constant for the duration.

You can also gather from the demonstration that there are many possibilities when it comes to the reactions we might receive. This kind of passing is going to force different responses and we must be ready to take advantage of what were given. With this cupping grip on the back of the neck its quite possible that we can create a path that leads all the way to the back. This would be the best-case scenario. But of course, we will take a great north south transition as well, which leaves us far from the hips and the reacquisition of the guard. So good. 

This is gold medal passing at its finest. The detail work here is absolutely phenomenal and Diniz has covered all the bases. This instructional is available now through BJJ Fanatics. Don’t sleep on this one! 

No Gi Power Passing by Matheus Diniz

No Gi Power Passing gives you the strategies to avoid the sweep and secure the pass. Learn how to be a Passing Powerhouse like Matheus by using his Power Passing System!



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