The Knee Cut Pass
The gi version of the knee slice or knee cut pass is one of the first passes that one learns to employ when someone's closed guard gets broken. It can also be a very effective pass against more advanced guards, with the key principles remaining the same no matter which type of guard you are faced with. We will take a look at the gi version broken down by 4 time world champion Lucas Lepri in this video featuring Bernardo Faria.
For an in depth look at the No Gi Knee Cut pass, check out this previous article from BJJ Fanatics where we break it down for you.
Collar Grip On Side Caught in De La Riva
Lucas Lepri demonstrates his particular knee cut pass, which Bernardo feels is one of the strongest amongst BJJ competitors, especially the lightweight division, as a reaction to the De La Riva guard of Bernardo. First and foremost he establishes a strong collar grip on the same side of the opponent's body as that opponent's De La Riva hook. It is important to couple this simple grip with an upward pull to keep their back and shoulders partially off the floor, impeding their mobility.
Elbow to Knee
With the arm that is gripping the pants, you will bring the elbow to your knee of the leg being held by the De La Riva hook. This simple motion will eliminate much of the pressure and control of the hook itself.
Pants Grip on Opposite Side
On the opposite or free leg of the opponent, you will establish a strong grip on the outside of their pants to be able to push their leg down.
Turn Body to the Side
By using the pull of the lapel grip on the side of of their body where they have the De La Riva hook and the push of the pant grip downward, you will be able to bring their back completely off the floor making it almost impossible to move away as you are now controlling both sides of their hips.
When Opponent Frames Switch Grip from Pants to Their Elbow
Their only recourse at this point will be to frame away and hope that they can get their leg free to perhaps set a strong knee shield (which will be addressed later). When they use their arms to frame against your torso and shoulders you will immediately switch the grip from the pants on the outside leg to the tricep area where the seam of the gi sleeve allows for a very strong and deep grip.
Knee to Ground and Pivot
Once that sleeve grip is achieved, the pass is nearly finished as it will be easy to drive the knee to the ground slicing, or cutting across their thigh. For Lepri it is important to know drive the knee down and the thigh back and across their thigh like some practitioners teach, as this creates too much space in his opinion. Once the knee strikes the ground next to the hip, one pivots to free the shin and be able to adjust if the opponent attempts to fight and regain guard.
If Their Frame Allows Them to Knee Shield
Lepri also addresses what to do should the opponent be able to regain some ground and establish a knee shield when they frame with their arms off of your body. In this case, when the knee shield is established, you once again, exchange the grip on their pants on the free leg and go for the tricep area sleeve grip and pull them up with that grip, while you push them down with the lapel grip. This pull/pull motion brings their hips and knee shield up vertically allowing you to sink back in and establish a knee to elbow connection again and continue with the steps of the first pass.
If you want to learn the knee cut pass and many other passing variations, you will want to check out world champion Bernardo Faria's "Pressure Passing Encyclopedia" in its 4 volume On Demand format, available here from BJJ Fanatics!