Smash Pass Concepts

You can divide guard passing into 2 big categories- smash passes and finesse passes.

Smash Pass- The way I define smash pass is hips engaged with the opponent at all times. When you are smash passing you will engage your hip with the other guy and not give any hip space until the pass is complete.

Finesse Pass- This is a pass based on movement. You make space for your hip so that you can move freely. You use movement to place your body in an advantageous spot before closing the distance. (Think bullfighter pass)


In this post we’ll look at smash passing. In particular we’ll look at posture and pressure that leads to a guard pass. The last step, the actual passing of the guard, is not covered in detail. That’s because if you do the first part the actual pass should be easy and self evident.


In the video below we’ll start building our posture. The hips, spine, shoulders, and head are all important here. Pay attention to those details. When you first start using this posture it may feel a bit tippy. With some practice it will start to feel natural.

Knee Capture

In the video below we’ll look at how to capture the knee in our squat posture. When you split someone’s guard and squat the knee is in the way of your guard pass. Dealing with it in a pressure pass scenario means tight intense pressure. We’ll look at how to set up for that. In this video the hips are critical. The tendency is to apply pressure with the chest. When you do this the pressure of your hips gets weaker. Try your best to keep all the initial pressure down at your hips on their ankle.

Knee Pressure- Smashing Inward

In this video we’ll look at how to smash the knee inwards. The goal is to get our chest directly to the side of the knee. You’ll see how the knee is structurally unsound when we place ourselves there. This is really the key to this type of passing. Place your weight and pressure on the side of the knee. There are quite a few ways to get to this spot. We’ll look at a few.

Knee Pressure- Smashing Outward

In Jiu Jitsu it’s important to have pressures in opposite directions. The idea is that it’s impossible for someone to simultaneously block both pressures. If they are blocking one then the other opens up. In this video we’ll use the same idea- getting to the side of the knee- but we’ll do it in the opposite direction on the inside of the knee instead of the outside. It’s important to keep the hips close and to not let any space develop.


In this last video in the series we’ll look briefly at grips. There are a ton of possibilities for grips. We’ll look at a few and their purpose. It’s important when you are gripping that you understand why they work and how they work. We’ll do a bit of that work in the video below.


I’m hoping that this gives you some ideas about smash passing. It’s not meant simply as a series of techniques but more as an idea. It’s really about the key concepts:

  • Keep the hips close. Pressure with the hips at all times.
  • Hip and spine posture are key.
  • Use your whole body to begin to pressure other guy’s leg away from center.
  • Get yourself to the side of the knee.

With these parameters you can find a bunch of guard passes. Good luck! and happy training.


Below I’ll post some smash pass videos for you to enjoy. Watch for the concepts.


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