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Is the Knee Slide the Most Important Pass?

Is the Knee Slide the Most Important Pass?


The knee slide or “slice,” is one of the most infamous and versatile passes in bjj.  In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is typically one of the first passes you learn and one of the last passes that you will work.  Although it may seem simple, as you start to progress and try to implement it on higher level guys, you should know the timing and mechanics of the pass well.

Is the knee slide the most important pass?  We can’t say yes or no, but we can say that it is one of the highest percentage and most popular passes in the history of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. What makes the knee slide so good?  It is extremely versatile, quick and effective on multiple guards.  You can knee slice from half guard, open guards, and you can set submissions up from the knee slice position.

Knee Slice vs Half Guard

Half guard is one of the first guards that you learn and one of the best ways to beat the half guard is with an underhook, cross face, and a knee slide.  Getting an underhook, cross face and knee sliding from half guard has long been one of the most successful passes in all levels of bjj.  As you progress the pass is still as effective but it becomes increasingly difficult to get an underhook and cross face on your opponent.

Many good guard passers try to force their opponent into half guard so they can start to work the knee slide from half guard.  Some famous Jiu Jitsu players that have executed this strategy are Xande Ribeiro, Marcelo Garcia, and Rodolfo Viera. This can be an amazing strategy for passing the guard.  If you want to see some more guard passing strategies, check out our article “Developing your guard passing.”  Also, check out this knee slide variation below from Lucas Lepri.  He has one of the best knee slides in bjj.

Knee Slice vs Open Guard

The knee slice can also be an excellent way to nullify open guards. With a powerful and explosive knee slice, you can beat many open guard players, and negate them from establishing good guards.  For instance, you can use the knee slice against De La Riva, Reverse De La Riva, Single Leg X, Butterfly, and many of the popular open guards we see today.

If you are not successful in passing open guard with your knee slice, at least you can use the pass to dictate the pace and position that way you are not stuck in a tricky open guard.  The knee slice, when executed quickly, aggressively, and with good timing can very easily be used to pass many open guards.  Some people say it is the only pass you need to know.  Check out this video below of Rafael Mendes showing his variation of the knee slice pass.

Knee Slice as a Position

The knee slice is also commonly used as a position by many high level Black Belts.  Some people like Romulo Barral, Rafael Lovato, and Xande Ribeiro like to pin their opponents in the knee slice and set up several submissions from there. 

Some submissions that present themselves in the knee slice position are the baseball bat choke, the brabo choke, the cross choke, the D’arce choke, and many more.  Knee slice position is basically quarter guard or half way through a knee slide. Check out our article “Open Guard Passing” to learn more on the knee slice as a position.  Also, check out 7X Black Belt World Champion, Xande Riberio showing his take on the knee slice.

The knee slice may not be the most important pass but it is one of the most popular.  As you can see there are several different variations of the knee slice and everyone has their own way of doing it.  The knee slide is definitely a pass you need to know.  If you want to enhance your knee slice, check out Rodolfo Viera’s 3 DVD Set, “Jiu Jitsu Domination, Smash. Pass. Finish.”  This will really show you the mechanics of the knee slice and give you the tools you need to implement the pass at high levels.


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