Rafael Lovato Jr. Cuts Through With A New and Improved Knee Slice Pass
If you’ve been involved with BJJ for any amount of time, then you’ve undoubtedly heard of the knee slice pass. One of BJJ’s most common threats to any guard player, the knee slice is a great choice, gi, or no gi to begin cutting through the bottom players’ guard and achieving dominant position. I believe this pass is so common because of its ease of use and the fact that it really does lend itself to players of all sizes. A good knee slice pass with all the bases covered can be incredibly difficult to deal with and very effective.
Rafael Lovato Jr. has a razor-sharp knee slice pass. When he’s not applying the knee slice to cut through the guards of the elite, he’s using it as a set up to begin transitioning to another form of passing. Lovato release some great material on the knee slice pass several years back. This changed the passing game for many and it gave us a look at the fine details of this BJJ titans’ passing game. Since those first instructional materials, the BJJ has evolved. Modern guards are now wreaking havoc on unsuspecting passers and throwing a wrench in to the old school ways of passing.
Lovato has been hard at work, modifying his passing system to combat the new tricks or the trade and he’s ready to share what he’s discovered with us in his new release, Top Game Devastation. Pretty bad ass name, right? This updated version of Lovato’s game will give us new insight in to how to deal with the perils of the modern BJJ guard and if you were a fan of Lovato’s previous work, there are some incredible amendments waiting here for you.
Lovato always talked about the headquarters position. This is a platform from he launched nearly all of his passing onslaughts. The knee slice is just one of many passes that can be implemented from here, and its also probably the most common. Check out this updated version of the headquarters position and the subsequent instruction on the knee slice pass as Lovato prefers to perform it now. Take a look!
The De La Riva hook has become one of the most problematic elements to passing over the last several years, and this is where Lovato begins. As he steps up the middle with his right leg, he immediately neutralizes the DLR hook by pressing down on his partners leg and removing it. He then settles into his seated posture and grips the lapel, preparing it for his opposite hand. Here is where things take a bit of a departure from the older stuff. Instead of letting his leg ride in the middle and heavy on the floor, Lovato choose to now allow his knee to travel across his partners body, loading up more weight on his partner instead of the floor. He then establishes a cross collar grip and pins his partners wrist with his free hand. Lovato refers to this particular position as the first “checkpoint” in keeping with the headquarters theme, which is great.
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With this checkpoint position established its clear Lovato has put himself right in line to continue cutting through the guard in a knee slice fashion, but hell have to cover a few more bases first. It’s likely the bottom player will throw up a road block here in the form of a knee shield style defense. This means Lovato will have to clear the path so that he can continue passing.
A quick pitstop here has Lovato remining us that to be successful with a knee slice pass, its important that we keep our partner flat. This will eliminate the threat of the knee shield, one of the biggest predators when it comes to the knee slice. To do this, Lovato uses his grip in the collar to apply pressure to his partners face and causes him to look in the opposite direction, thus, keeping him flat and unable to mount sufficient defense. Putting a twist in his partner’s body, Lovato has created a very uncomfortable scenario. He can now clear his partner’s knee from his path using a sweeping motion with his slicing leg. With the leg in his rearview and his hips connected to the mat, Lovato now turns his attention to changing the grip on the wrist to a sleeve grip, using the outside seam to connect to his partners gi. Lovato now uses this grip as means to pull his partners arm up off of the floor as he continues to sit through and solidify the pass.
Its now critical that Lovato stabilizes the position so that all of his work can continue to pay off here. He transitions his elbow in tot eh under hook space between his partner’s ribs and bicep. This detail more than many others has served me a million time when performing this pass. Often times we give up space when trying to achieve a more traditional style under hook, using the hand to pommel. With the elbow, we can claim the under-hook space and not give anything away int eh process. This is huge! Keep it in mind!
Here, Lovato can now finish the sequence and achieve a basic side control configuration. He reminds here to make sure that we don’t allow our hips to slide all the way down to the floor. WE must keep our hip connected to our partners hip and back it up with some pressure. We’ve all hit that great guard pass, only to be lazy at the end and given the bottom player a chance to recompose. Don’t let that happen here. Stay connected!
If things get a little hairy at the end of the passing procedure, Lovato advises us to work instead tot eh knee on belly position. As his partner begins to gain some ground and gets to his side, Lovato doesn’t want to throw up a hail mary here and continue on the same course. Instead he keeps the wrist pin intact, as well as the hand in the collar and transfers his weight forward to these two anchors, where he can then easily make a quick switch to the knee on belly. With his grips and the aid of the knee on belly, Lovato can now look to flatten his partner and regain good stabilization within the position.
The constant threat of the hand in the collar provides Lovato with options here. While his partner is concerned about the pass, he can set up a submission and vice versa.
Simple, applicable, fantastic. This is phenomenal instruction from one of the greatest American BJJ competitors of our time! Can’t wait to see more!
Pressure Passing and Top Game by Rafael Lovato is a 4-part masterpiece of guard destruction. Take the classic passes you have been doing for years and REVITALIZE it with Lovato’s help. Rafael is one of the most decorated American Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in history. Thankfully for us, his way of instruction might be his biggest accomplishment yet!