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7 Toreando Guard Pass Variations in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

Using the toreando guard pass.

Using the toreando guard pass.

Toreando Pass

The toreando (roughly "bull fighter") guard pass is a basic staple of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu system, just as surely as the rear naked choke or the triangle falls into that category. As a result, there are loads and loads of defenses to the classic pass out there.

Of course, jiu-jitsu is always evolving, so answers to this problem are constantly being presented. What follows are seven options you can use to complete the toreando pass against varying different defenses.

1. Classic (Side-Control Shoulder Smash)

The oldest of old school guard passes! Start by standing while your opponent is seated. Begin by grabbing the inside of their pant legs, and then straighten your arms in order to bring their knees together, but also to lock your arms in place, relying on your body weight (not your arm strength!) in order to pin your partner's feet to the ground. As they try to sit up, walk around to the side and drive your shoulder into your partner's chest area, ultimately flattening them out. Switch to 100 kilos to finish the pass.

2. Classic (Knee on Belly)

Perhaps even more common than using the initial grips to get to side control, the classic pass straight to knee on stomach can be used whenever your partner doesn't sit up or doesn't sit up as quickly as they need to in order to stop you from getting to knee on stomach. Use this passing method in order to go straight to a dominant, scoring position whenever your partner allows it. For a more advanced version of this pass, visit our X-pass tutorial.

3. Throw Past

The "throw past" variation is another viable pass option, particularly if you are wary of the person sitting up and going to work from butterfly guard (EG, don't pin their feet to the floor!). Start by pinning your partner's knees to their chest. Think of this part as "taking the slack out" of your partner's legs; it's important to reach your partner's range of flexibility here, lest you end up in spider guard. As soon as they push back, simply drag their legs out of the way (think of this as a sort of proto-leg drag).

4. Simple Leg Drag

Arguably a more sophisticated version of the "throw past" guard pass, the simple leg drag version of the toreando isn't quite a classic toreando, and it isn't quite a leg drag. Start the same way as the "throw past" version, but as your partner pushes outward, create a shelf with your lead leg for your partner's legs to rest on. From here, it's a matter of keeping your partner's legs facing away from you while you drop your weight down, taking care to keep the space tight.

5. Reverse Knee-on-Stomach Pass

Another great way to "seal the deal" on the toreando pass is to utilize a quick switch to reverse knee-on-stomach. This can facilitate your fully getting around your partner's initial guard maintenance. Finish by dropping your base, allowing your knee to drop to the ground, and seeking to control your partner's hips.

6. Hip-Switch Knee Drop

This is a great move for a person who has a very strong guard recovery, hipping out right as you enter into your pass. Instead of resisting this motion, go with it entirely, completely turning into the power your partner is giving you. Once you cause them to inevitably over-reach, you can then drop your knee to the ground, thus executing the hip-switch knee drop.

7. Knees In Version, Detailed

The "knees in" version has become a favorite in recent years. Start by pressuring forward, pinching your partner's knees in close to their chest. This will, once again, cause them to push back at you at some point. This is your moment of guard-defeating glory. As your partner begins to react, simply side-step the pressure they're giving you.

A Common Thread

Note that, while all of these passes have individual, unique characteristics, all of them have a great deal in common. The similarities come from the very obvious standing start point; from seeking to control the legs first, then the hips; to the more subtle idea that whenever your partner uses their energy, you're going to figure out a way to use it against them. Try out all of these variations over time, and pick the ones that work the best for you under the given circumstances. As always, let me know if these techniques work for you!

© 2018 Andrew Smith