Knee-Slide Pass (to Submission) with Stephen Whitter

Stephen is founder of 40 Plus BJJ, and also runs his own academy in Massachusetts. A black belt for years, Stephen’s teaching focus online has always been showing older grapplers how to fight and win.

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In this article we are looking at one of the most used passes in jiu-jitsu and we’re going to learn a cool choke from there from our friend Stephen Whittier.

Knee slide pass in the grand scale of things:

WhitIf you have been doing jiu-jitsu for any duration of time and know how YouTube works there is a big chance that you have seen about a million different guard passes for about a million different guards.

Some of these passes withstand the test of time and more importantly the test of competition, I have to say that out of this giant supply of passes only a handful are really time and competition tested, The knee slide is one of these rare passes.

It’s a pretty basic and classic pass but it’s still getting used on the elite level. Great examples of elite competitors that use knee slide passes are Guilherme Mendes, Leandro Lo and the infamous Marcelo Garcia.

Some quick points about the knee slide:

  1. Despite it being a somewhat old-school pass it’s still widely in use. If you look at page 14 of Bishop Bjj 2012 mundial study, you’ll quickly notice that it’s sharing the first place for most used pass with the infamous leg drag.
  2. There as many variations if the knee slide as there is top level competitors, almost all of the elite level players use the knee slide but everyone seems to use a different variation. It might be more accurate to call the “knee slide” a category of passes instead of an actual technique.

Example of diffrent knee slide variations

  • Although the knee slice pass offers some very real mechanical advantages, it’s still a very skill reliant position. A good knee slice is very hard to defend but someone with good knee slide defense is very hard to knee slide.

Great Leandro Lo with a thousand knee slide attempts

  • As any position where you force your opponent to react in one way or another it’s an excellent place to set up your favorite submissions. 

Looking at the knee slide in different ways:

There are a couple of different ways you can see the knee slide, none of these ways are mutually exclusive but the way you tend to look at it will probably have an effect on the way you train and use it.

  1. A transition or guard pass movement, if you simply slide straight through someone’s guard into side control you could look at it as just a pass.
  2. A category of passes, if you know and use 10 types of knee slides from a multitude of positions with different details for different situation then you’ll probably see the knee slide as a category of passes rather than a single pass.
  3. A guard pass position, if you stay in the knee slide position for a while either by choice or because your opponent has some sort of block then you can see it as a position.

Submitting from the knee slide:

If you look at the knee slide as just a transition or guard pass movement then you’ll probably use your submissions as a follow up to your pass. A great example of this would be spinning for the far side armbar after you went through his guard like a hot knife through butter. This ties into some of Stephen’s basic principles, which we’ve talked about in a previous article here at

Treating the knee slice a position implies that you are in a spot where you have multiple routes of attack from there which might or might not be reactions to your opponent’s actions.

This is where the video of the day comes in; here Stephen Whittier sees the knee slide as a position. He shows us a great option for when your opponent is turning in, which is, coincidently, the most common reaction to the knee slide. If you use the knee slide on a regular basis this technique is going to be very valuable for you, so give it a try and let us know what you think.

-Daniel Faggella

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