Knee Cut Guard Pass - Dealing With the Scissor Defense

Updated on April 1, 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.

Counters to Counters

Fundamental jiu jitsu techniques tend to yield equally fundamental defenses. One of the very first defenses you will likely encounter to a knee cut guard pass (based on fundamental guard maintenance principles) is the scissor or knee shield. This means that you can no longer move forward with your knee cut as before and will need to make some adjustments. What follows are three different "counters to the counters," so to speak. You can determine which works best for you, or you can take a look at the specific situations under which approach might work best. Remember: advanced techniques are really nothing more than fundamental techniques layered on top of one another.

Running Into the Shield

When you run into the knee/shin shield, one simple approach is to stop moving forward and instead thread your arm through, weaving around their top leg but in front of their bottom leg. This helps to keep their legs pinched together (I prefer to punch the ground, but others will sometimes grab the bottom pants leg). If your right hand is punching through, grab their (same side) collar with your left hand. This will help you close the distance, and also help to keep them flat. Seal the deal by driving your head into their far shoulder, ensuring that they will flatten out. From here, you may simply be able to sprawl your leg free, or you can use a "yogafoot" approach. Be sure to flatten them completely as you finish the guard pass.

Hips Up

When the shin slides in front during the knee cut here, sometimes a slightly different angle is just the thing to do. Here, make sure your grip on the lapel is higher up, so that you can slide your elbow down and back (to block their hip from following you). It is imperative that you control the sleeve now, so that you can pull your partner's arm way up. Once again, the name of the game is to flatten your partner's shoulders. Next up, your hips need to face the ceiling. This is likely the most nonintuitive part of the move; this isn't the typical way a knee cut pass works, but it can be extremely effective in finishing the pass under these circumstances. As you turn your hips back over, you should be able to snag a Kimura grip and have some fun.

Hips Lower

Another very simple approach involves an even more subtle angle change. Start with the same pre-existing conditions: you are cutting the knee across, and your partner catches the shield before you can move any further forward. In this strategy, you simply want to drop your elbow, as before (recall that this makes it tough for them to follow you with their legs any further up), and then just turn your hips downward. This allows you to disconnect from their legs, making sure that their hips remain pinned under your ribcage and hip area. Focus on keeping their knees pinched together, and then seek out the sleeve to finish.

Which Approach Do You Prefer?

See results


Once you get all three of these options down, one will likely become your favorite. This will likely frustrate many of your partners for a while, until one comes up with a good way to counter what you're doing, and then you'll be back to the drawing board. Always remember that advanced techniques in jiu jitsu arise in exactly this manner, and you may well be helping to encourage innovation at your gym when you use this layered approach to problem solving. Don't despair, but instead remember that you are adding to the overall body of BJJ knowledge out there! It is growing quickly. As always, let me know how these techniques work out for you.


    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)