Double Under Stack Pass Defense (Late Stage): A BJJ Tutorial

Updated on August 14, 2017
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Andrew Smith is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs the BJJ Tutorial Encyclopedia here.

Dealing With Double Unders

The "double under pass" (or "stack pass", sometimes) is easily one of the most common passes you're going to have to deal with throughout your jiu jitsu career, from white to black belt. It's frequently one of the first passes taught at gyms across the world, and as a result, it's crucial to understand how to deal with the pass, prevent it from being finished, and, ultimately, to counter and take advantage of the pass. This tutorial will cover some fundamental concepts and later stage pass defenses you can start using right away. Start with the early stages double under defenses, though. Let's get started!

Basic Guard Maintenance Corrolary

If you haven't already seen the guard maintenance drills tutorial, go and take a look at it right now. Two of the movements in particular are going to come in extremely handy for any time someone tosses your legs to the side in a somewhat less technical (but perhaps more aggressive) manner:

  1. The hip escape back to guard
  2. The "flamethrower" turtle back to guard movement

Both of these movements should become fundamental at an early stage of your BJJ development if possible, but if they're not at this point, there's still plenty of time to practice them.

Late Stage Defense: Hips High

There are two important steps involved with this late stage defense. It's "late stage" because your partner has already managed to clasp their hands together, and they are elevating your hips. We'll cover earlier stage stuff in a follow up tutorial. It's important right away to follow your partner as they lift you up, not allowing yourself to be stacked so much as elevating your hips even higher than they intended. Next, you've got to snake your legs back through their arms. This can be accomplished by pushing up on both elbows and biting down on one side (on the shoulder of your partner), angling out to the side, then sliding through back to guard. Repeat on the other side.

Moving on the Offensive

Remember: every transition gives you an opportunity, and every time your partner tries for a guard pass opens them up for a counter. In this case, while you're already stacked up, go into your "slither" motion on one side, but stop short of pulling your foot completely free. Instead, use the foot that's hooking your partner's elbow to help break down their posture. Now slide your foot all the way through and step on their hip. This should set you up for a very tight triangle entry, particularly if you're able to get the arm across and control their posture. Try to make sure you get your top leg all the way across their neck at a right angle.

Getting Back in the Game

Remember - these are "later stage" defenses to the double under pass, and you'll want to start with the earlier stage maintenance before using these. Having said that, you'll not only have plenty of opportunities to practice these defenses, as your partners will no doubt go for this pass frequently, but you'll also want to intentionally allow your partner to get this far along once you get really good at these. Always be sure to play a lot at the gym when training so you can try these out again and again!

Which passes your guard more?

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