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Game Changing Knee Cut Details with Lachlan Giles

Game Changing Knee Cut Details with Lachlan Giles


Knee through, knee slice, knee cut. No matter how you refer to this type of pass, I think its safe to say that this type of passing procedure is one of, if not the most common pass in BJJ. We encounter the knee though pass early and it becomes both a staple in our passing tool box and a pass that we deal with quite often. 

The requirements for this first and foremost are that we cut a leg up the middle of our partners guard and then hopefully we have the wherewithal to avoid the knee shield, keep our training partner’s out of the under-hook space, and claim it for ourselves as we pass through the guard. Everyone does this pass a bit different and you can collect amazing details from lots of different BJJ players, but there are certain elements of the process that will always remain. 

Watch any BJJ competition event, gi or no gi, and you’ll undoubtedly see this pass performed in a variety of different ways. Some choose to make it quick, slicing through the guard unexpectedly and with haste. And you’ll also witness some smashing type variations of the knee cut, where the guard passer incrementally works their way through the legs applying crushing pressure and making life miserable for the guard player. 

Lachlan Giles is headed to Anaheim this weekend to try and continue his streak of great competition performances in the Olympics of our sport. Hell be a part of the absolutely stacked 77kg division at ADCC 2019, that’s hosting a numerous collection of big names. Giles is an incredible Coach and competitor, with a fierce lower body submission game, and we’ll look for him to be making his way in to the later rounds of the competition. 

IN this video, Giles gives us a detailed breakdown of the knee through pass. As always, Giles offers incredibly detailed teaching and addresses many of the pitfalls of doing the pass incorrectly. Take a look at this and what you might be missing when it comes to this popular pass! 



Starting at square one, at the outer edge of his partner’s feet, Giles begins by controlling the shins near the feet. He advises this over controlling the knees, as this will make pommeling to the inside with the legs much easier. Control over the shin are will limit the movement of the legs, and provide much better control. With the legs secured, Giles then looks to walk out to the side and looks to get his partners leg in between his legs, almost as if he was going to take a seat on his partner’s foot. Its here that Giles can now enter his knee in to the fold. AS he comes forward, he places his knee down on the inside of his partner’s thigh, transferring all of his weight to this contact point. He’s sure to keep his weight on his partner to pin the hip and limit mobility. If he allows his knee to travel down to the floor, his weight will be displaced, allowing his partner to move and possibly reset. 

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The knee shield is another hug factor here, that can really screw up your progress. If the knee shield enters into the passing sequence, you will have to stop moving forward and begin to address the guard in a different manner. It’s not impossible to recover from, but if we can keep it out of our way, things will go a lot smoother. As Giles begins to enter, he keeps that good control over the shin and lets his shoulders sink down in between the legs, blocking the knee shield from being used. This is critical and it should always be on your radar as you progress through the pass. 

With the legs out of his way, Giles can now begin to focus on the upper body portion of the controls. He first works to get his right arm and elbow down tot eh mat near his partners hip. HIs other arm will be charged with the task of either acquiring a cross face or capturing the elbow. Only when the upper body is controlled can Giles now begin to slide his knee through and make contact with the mat. With his hips free and the guard passed, Giles has one more motion he likes to complete before he considers the pass to be completed. This is walking in a backward motion to flatten his partner out a bit. When his partner is facing him, there is the danger of a strong hip escape throwing a wrench in to Giles’s plans. This danger lessens as Giles moves his partners hips away.

Of course, things wont always go according to plan and we may need to add more layers to our assault on the guard. One of the things Giles likes to do is to attack the other side first. When we settle in to pass, the bottom player immediately prepares all their defenses and tightens up as we come forward. Giles likes to first threaten the opposite side by pinning the knee and jamming up his partner’s leg that’s in between his legs. This forces his partner to defend that opposite side heavily. As this occurs Gels plants his right hand on the mat and his left hand high above his partner’s head on the other side. He then lifts his knee a bit and transitions back to the other side where a lot of the avenues for the pass are clear and being left unattended for an easy transition passed the legs. 

With a couple more details here, Giles reminds us to keep our weight in the hands as we transition back to the other side. This keeps our legs light and mobile. It also reduces the risk of us hurting our training partners during the process. Pay special attention to that left hand that’s reaching out. It’s essential here to reach as far as possible, so that as we transition, we have a good center of gravity and balance. The knee shield is also still a threat here. For this reason, Giles stresses the importance of keeping his hips low and cutting an angle as he returns tot eh other side of the body. This helps Giles stay in the way of the knee shield and reduces the likelihood of it entering. 

The last detail is something that many of us may not pay enough attention to. At the close of the technique, Giles lets us know that we can lock our hands to secure our partner but with one small caveat. As he locks his hands, he keeps his elbow low, near the hips. This will add yet another layer to our defense of the hip escape and increase our chances of keeping the cross-body position. 

Phenomenal details here on what of the most important passes in BJJ. IF this pass is not part of your arsenal, you’re definitely missing out on its power and high percentage application. Thank you for the amazing instruction Lachlan Giles and good luck this weekend at ADCC!

Lachlan Giles is one of the BEST teachers around. His YouTube channel has helped grapplers across the globe. The Guard Passing Anthology: Half Guard By Lachlan Giles is easily one of the best resources available ANYWHERE. Giles has world class technique matched with UNPARALLELED teaching ability!



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