The Best Knee Cut Pass Setup by JT Torres

The Best Knee Cut Pass Setup by JT Torres

The Knee Cut Pass is, more often than not, set up from an Open Guard… But what if we were to tell you that you can also set it up from being in someone’s Butterfly Guard – and that the principles you learn by doing it from this position will help you out in your overall BJJ game?
That’s true! JT Torres, one of the top grapplers of this generation, shows how to do exactly that.


JT Torres starts by saying that he is a big believer in distance control and staying heavy on top of his opponents. That is why he sometimes forces himself into the Butterfly Guard, even when he is in an Open Guard to begin with! This is how he does it, side by side with Bernardo Faria as his training partner:

1) JT grabs Bernardo’s ankles in order to control his Open Guard. He keeps Bernardo’s heels glued behind his thighs in order to inhibit his range of motion.

2) From there, JT does a step back. As he does this, he plants Bernardo’s feet towards the mat.

3) Then, he comes in with his hips and places them over the top of his hands.

4) JT disconnects his arms, dropping his bodyweight and chest.

5) He keeps his hands on Bernardo’s armpits and keeps his elbows tight.

6) Pay attention how he’s standing on his toes – JT says that this is a huge detail when it comes to staying heavy on top; all the while simultaneously driving into Bernardo and keeping his head down.


Now being in a position to initiate the Knee Cut Pass, JT emphasizes that – before you start with it – you need to decide which side you’ll pass towards, and then commit to passing to that side.
After deciding that he’s going to pass to the right, JT gets it going:

1) He pulls back tightly with his left arm, sliding the elbow towards the hip first and then placing his palm right onto Bernardo’s hip.

2) Then, JT’s left leg pops out – and when it does, he leans hard to the left and pressures his forearm against Bernardo’s leg, getting it low to the mat.

3) He leans forward. As he does this, he moves his hand Bernardo’s shoulder. As he leans even more, he posts on that same hand above the shoulder.

4) JT brings his heel up and over Bernardo’s leg, bringing his foot to the mat again – inside Bernardo’s legs, however.

5) He whips to the other side, placing his knee on top of Bernardo’s other leg. He presses this leg into the mat, all the while being posted with his other leg.


This ends up being a great, deep Knee Cut Pass position! What makes it so good, JT explains, is that your opponent’s other leg can’t come up in front of you and create a Knee Shield – for your elbow is perfectly positioned between their thigh and hip, blocking it!
When he’s ready to pass, JT follows these steps:

1) He rolls his shoulder into Bernardo’s leg, making sure it won’t cause problems.

2) His hand drops down to the mat and „hugs“ Bernardo’s hip.

3) JT places his right hand behind Bernardo’s back and onto his spine, while placing his left hand to the mat.

4) He pulls Bernardo towards him.

5) JT drives his right shoulder into Bernardo’s face.

From there, JT simply points his knee and slides through. As he slides through, he emphasizes that he keeps his hip connected to Bernardo’s hip and that you need to stay on your toes, not letting your knees drop to the mat.

Watch the video below to tune in on more of JT Torres’s great details and his wonderful demonstration of this Knee Cut Pass variation!