Countering the Twister Pass for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Updated on April 10, 2020
revolutionbjj profile image

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

Twister Side Control

If you have good training partners, there's a very good chance you've had your guard passed straight into reverse kesa gatame, or "twister side control." This describes a position wherein your partner elects to drape their arm over your body (unlike a Kimura, this bypasses your top arm completely) while switching their hips toward yours. This position can be considerably harder to escape than other types of side control (although, if you're stuck in side control, you might appreciate these unorthodox escapes).

What the Top Person Is Doing

Here's a look at the half-guard pass we're starting with, along with a common back-take maneuver. Start by switching your hips on top, but underneath your partner's armpit, rather than like a Kimura hip-switch position. From here, start walking your hips up so that you isolate your partner's inside arm, and then walk your foot up so that your trapped (right) shin is perpendicular to the ground. If you need to, you can wedge your left knee and shin in between you and your partner to help free your leg.

Once free, your ambition is either to move to the mount or to take the back. The back requires hooking your partner's right leg with your right leg, and I prefer to get a lockdown from here (many other black belts do this without the lockdown; it's a matter of preference and security vs getting into the position faster). Now, just reach over your left shoulder (preferably after grabbing your partner's foot with your right hand), and roll forward, finishing the ninja-roll back take, as amply described here.

Using the Lapel

Rolling in the gi offers a unique opportunity to counter this guard pass that isn't available in no-gi training (there are other options, though). As your partner starts to execute the pass (and you should see it coming a mile away by now), reach over with your own left arm (mirroring their position on you) and untuck their lapel, getting a firm grip on their jacket.

This will keep them from turning and finishing the back take completely. While it's going to be difficult to stop your partner from getting their leg free to (partially) finish the guard pass, it won't be impossible for you to step over and get your own hook with your left leg, particularly if you use your free right arm as a stiff arm on your partner's pants grip, keeping them from stepping back.

Now you've created what's essentially an "even money back take" situation: Either person can get the other's back, with one caveat—you have their lapel. Now, build your base up as though to hip bump your partner over (and, indeed, if your partner doesn't react, just come up on top). As your partner responds, use the space they've created to scoot your hips out and execute your own back take.

Not So Fast (On the Back Take)

Be careful not to move too quickly through the back take, lest your partner simply pulls their leg free and finishes the pass. This is why I'm a huge fan of the lockdown all the way until you have the harness grip. A good way to see whether your angle is correct with regard to the "calf leg" on the lockdown is to try to execute a calf slicer on your partner. If you can't do it, they can probably get your back just as easily as you can get theirs . . .

Which reverse kesa gatame do you prefer?

See results

Parting Words

Two further things of note are worth considering. First, if your partner switches their hips "Kimura-style" (still considered reverse kesa gatame, but no longer "twister pass"), you need to execute this style of counter instead. This technique only works because of the specific arm position of your partner. Second, if your partner is already executing a ninja roll (you're a little late on the escape portion), you need to counter their ninja roll with this.

Jiu-jitsu is infinite in its complexity, and it's always evolving and changing, but the positions you'll arrive at from the techniques described herein are fairly predictable, at least in terms of the highest percentage moves your partner is likely to try on you. Work on these counters, and, as always, let me know how they're working for you!

© 2016 Andrew Smith


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)