Controlling the hips when passing

I've heard it many times that the formula to pass someone's guard is essentially always the same, only with lots of variants within the formula. It goes more or less as follows:

1. Uncross your opponent's legs (if they are crossed).

2. Control your opponent's hips by giving them very little space to move.

3. Pass over or under a leg, while establishing good side control (i.e. not letting your opponent get the far underhook, f.ex.).

I must confess that I don't know many ways to do item number 2, i.e. control my opponent's hips. I've seen guys control their opponent's legs in various ways (which in a turn controls the hips, I guess), underhooks, overhooks, and other funky stuff, but I'm not too knowledgable about this. I only really do three things here:

a) Just slide my shin over a thigh, which kind of controls the hips.

b) Get one leg on my shoulder and control the knee of the other leg (Michael jen, Roy Harris and Joe Moreira favor this one).

c) Double underhook the legs by clasping my hands together, stack my opponent and pass.

Can anyone please list other ways of controlling the hips while passing?

Thanks in advance,




Here would be my thinking:

  1. Open legs:
    1. leverage legs open
    2. bait a sub/sweep to trick them open

  2. Pass legs:

    1. over the leg (e.g. near or far shin slides over)

    2. under the leg (e.g. one arm slides under and gets leg onto shoulder)

    3. around the legs (e.g push leg(s) aside and run around to knee on stomach)

  3. Control the body (not sure its just the hip):

    1. Pull (e.g. hug around their body and squeeze)

    2. Push (e.g. drop weight onto their body and press)

  4. Secure pin

Gi or no-gi?


Beginner Guard Passing (a la Roy Harris)

1) Begin in Base & Posture

2) Uncross the Ankles

3) Control the Hip

4) Pass Over/Under a Leg

5) Anchor your weight

6) Center your weight

"3) Control the Hip"

This is what I don't know too much about and this is what I was asking for. No one has really answered that question yet. How do you really "control" the hips?

And by the way, I do only no-gi BJJ at the moment.

Shoulder pressure is key. Leo Santos showed me a lot of passes where you hold the far hip ( grabbing at the pants ), put shoulder pressure into your opponent while pinning the leg you are passing.

Been working this a bit myself lately so here's my $0.02...

What tools do you have available to control the hips? Basically you have your arms, including your hands and elbows, and your shoulders. You can use whatever is appropriate based on what kind of resistance he is giving you.

Many times I start the closed guard passes by establishing a good kneeling posture and hands on his hips pushing down. If you are pushing him into the mat and all is going well, this sets up an over the legs pass.

Sometimes he will be squirming around a bit and I will drop my elbows to both sides of his hips preventing him from moving. In this posture you can use your weight and shoulder pressure to trap the hips as well. If your shoulder is down, this becomes a point you are balancing on and you can lift your hips up and run around the legs, using your arms to keep him in check while you do it.

If you are doing a stack pass, you need to put you weight straight down on his hamstring so his leg(s) is/are flat a gainst his chest. The hip control from the top comes from your pressure. You can also use you hands (or even knees) on his hips to keep them from moving to the side.

Some examples off of the top of my head...

Some methods of controlling the hip:

A) Most common one: one leg on the shoulder, one pinned under your far hand/shin.

B) One leg on your shoulder, drive that leg to his face, lifting his hips in the air (also, you can grab belt/butt/pants or underhook the opposite leg)

C) hug the thigh with one arm, either by pinning your elbow to your knee (as shown in extensive detail in Joe Moreira's series from Island), or by hugging it from underneath (could be double-unders)

D) gi version: reach underneath one leg and grab the belt/skirt