Ultimate Guide To The Cradle Pass In BJJ

Ultimate Guide To The Cradle Pass In BJJ

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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a grappling martial art that emphasizes ground fighting and submissions. One of the critical aspects of BJJ is the ability to pass the guard – a position where one fighter is on their back and uses their legs to defend against the opponent. The cradle pass is an unorthodox technique used in this context, offering a blend of control, pressure, and efficiency. This article delves into the basics of the cradle pass and how it can be used to add a unique layer to your guard passing game.


Understanding The Cradle Pass

The cradle pass in BJJ is inspired by a wrestling move known as the cradle, where one person wraps their arms around the head and one knee of the opponent, effectively bundling them together. In Jiu-Jitsu, this concept is adapted to pinning and passing the guard. The technique involves controlling the opponent’s upper body and one of their legs, thereby limiting their ability to defend and making it easier to pass their guard.

The cradle pass is such an effective technique because it does not require any extraordinary attributes to pull off. Anyone, regardless of age and ability, can employ the cradle pass, provided that they understand the mechanics and timing of the move. If you can execute the basic stack pass, you should be able to fully understand the intricacies of the cradle pass, as they share many similarities.


Cradle Pass – Gi Variation

In this video, Bernardo Faria and Braulio Estima dissect the cradle pass in the Gi. The cradle pass is a strong passing technique of its own accord; using Gi-specific grips will make it even stronger. Braulio went over several passing tactics against the most common guard in BJJ, such as the single leg X, De la RivaZ guard, and more. While he did not break down every detail in these passes, it shows one important element – separating the legs by using your body as a wedge, and from there, you establish the cradle by isolating a leg. Once you get this, passing the guard should not be very difficult.


Drill To Approach The Cradle Grip

Braulio shares a cool drill to help newbies with the cradle pass. He starts by teaching his recommended approach to attack the Z guard, one of the more annoying defenses in BJJ. He demonstrates that getting a lapel grip after threading your arm through the Z guard is strong and will make your pass that much easier to finish. Maintain your pressure by moving forward and shifting your base to your left hip. Place your shin to their leg and turn while you put pressure on their head. At this point, you should be able to get to mount as they attempt to escape.


Cradle Pass Against Shin To Shin Guard

American Judoka and BJJ blackbelt Travis Stevens shares a simple way to pass the shin to shin guard. This is a basic yet nuanced approach that will make you a dangerous passer against open-guard players. This technique is not dependent on the Gi; therefore, you can apply this in all forms of grappling, including mixed martial arts (MMA). From the shin to the shin guard, push the opponent’s head to the side as you drop your body down and put your chest between his knee and head. Lace your hand through as you fall back. This position will allow you to use the cradle to control the legs. Step your leg over theirs and establish the weave pass as you bypass the opponent’s legs.


A Technical Way To Pass The Guard

You may have noticed that there are many steps to the cradle pass, depending on the guard your opponent is using. This is because using the cradle pass requires you to isolate the legs using your body as you adjust your position while keeping the legs controlled. Every step of the way, you must use your hands or legs to wedge against the opponent’s leg to effectively limit their movement. Yes, this will require more time to get accustomed to, but the rewards of efficiently controlling a fully resisting opponent are always satisfying.


Training And Drilling The Cradle Pass

Consistent practice of the cradle pass will lead to mastery in no time!

Regular training and drilling are essential to master the cradle pass. Practitioners who wish to learn this move should focus on the details of grip, control, and movement. Drilling with partners of different sizes and skill levels can also provide valuable experience in adapting the technique to various scenarios. Like with all techniques, start by practicing the technique from the initial approach to the finish. Make sure that you internalize the steps and learn the logic of every movement. Once you can apply the techniques with relative ease, it is time to practice with increasing resistance. Allow your training partner to add common responses, such as frames and leg pummeling, as you execute the cradle pass from various guards. This will allow you to apply the techniques from increasingly higher levels of resistance. The more you do this, the better you become at using the technique.

Finally, seeking feedback from your training partners and coach is always a smart idea. Often, we don’t see the whole picture, and small mistakes get ignored. By asking for honest feedback from your coach and the people you roll with, you can get objective facts that can help you improve your performance in the training room. Please keep an open mind, and do not get offended by whatever feedback they give you.



The cradle pass is a powerful and versatile tool in the arsenal of any BJJ practitioner. Its effectiveness lies in its ability to control and limit the opponent’s movements, making it easier to pass their guard. By understanding the fundamentals, practicing regularly, and integrating it into their overall game, you can significantly enhance your guard passing skills. Like any technique in BJJ, the key to mastery is consistent practice, attention to detail, and a willingness to adapt and evolve.