Close this search box.

What is the Knee Slice Pass?

June 10, 2024

The Knee Slice Pass, also known as the Knee Cut Pass, is a fundamental guard-passing technique in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). It involves slicing the knee through the opponent’s guard to transition from a top position to a more dominant position, typically side control. Fighters use it in both gi and no-gi grappling, making it a versatile tool you can use it different types of competitions.

Celebrated for its simplicity and effectiveness, the knee slice pass allows practitioners to maintain pressure on their opponents while advancing their position. It can be applied against various guards, including the half guard, open guard, and even the butterfly guard, and is one of the highest-percentage passes a beginner can learn to help a fighter ascend through the ranks of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Step-by-Step Execution

There are several ways you can use this technique, but for now, we’ll focus on one of the more common methods: 

Download Schedule

  1. Start from a top position, such as the combat base (one knee up and one knee down), or from within your opponent’s guard. Secure your grip on your opponent, either by gripping their collar with one hand and their sleeve with the other, or controlling their head and arm.
  1. Bring your leading knee (the knee on the same side as your grip on their collar) across your opponent’s body, aiming to slice through their thigh. Your other leg should be posted out wide to maintain balance and stability while you start hunting for the wrist with your free hand.
  1. Clear the path by using your knee to turn your adversary’s leg down and away. As you drive your knee forward and down, use your hips to apply pressure and keep your opponent flat on the ground. At the same time, keep a strong grip on their lapel so you can use your forearm to drive their neck away from you, which will also help keep them flat. Keep your weight distributed evenly, using your shoulder pressure to pin their upper body.

With their wrist and knee pinned and turning their head away, clear their leg to sit through for an easy pass. Shift the grip on their wrist to their sleeve and slide the elbow of your other arm into their armpit area to block your opponent from attempting an underhook. 

Slide your knee all the way to the mat, completing the slicing motion. Once your knee is through, bring your hips down to the mat to stabilize the position. Ensure your opponent’s legs are pinned and that they cannot re-establish their guard.

Establish Side Control: Transition to side control by settling your hips and chest onto your opponent. Use your grips and pressure to secure a dominant position, ensuring you have control over their upper body and hips.

Drills and Training Tips

To master the Knee Slice Pass in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), you need to hone a few things, including your muscle memory, timing, and body control. Repetitive drilling helps practitioners perform the technique instinctively while refining their ability to time the pass. Just as important as learning the mechanics, regular practice builds confidence so you can execute the Knee Slice Pass during sparring and competition without fear.

Strength exercises

A strong core gives you the stability you need to maintain balance during transitions and when resisting an opponent’s attacks. Core and leg strength are especially important for success in BJJ, no matter what style of fighter you are. This helps you retain guard and apply pressure during the knee slice and other passes.

  • Deadlifts
  • Front squats
  • Planks
  • Box jumps
  • Lying leg raises
  • Turkish get-ups
  • Ab rollers
  • Leg lift hip raises
  • Curl up
  • Farmer’s Carry

Flexibility and hip mobility exercises

The knee slice pass is a full-body maneuver which means incorporating dynamic stretches into your routine is essential for increasing overall body mobility and helping you achieve smoother transitions. To stay limber, spend time each day practicing your flexibility, with particular emphasis on hip mobility work.

  • Hip circles
  • Pigeon stretch
  • Static calf stretch
  • Lying hamstring stretch
  • Trunk twists
  • Toe touches
  • Wide leg adductor stretch
  • 90/90 hip opener
  • Quad stretch
  • Walking 
  • Hip CARs (controlled articular rotations)
  • Leg swings
  • Butterfly stretch

Partner Drills and Positional Sparring

Working with a partner to practice the knee slice pass in a controlled setting, focusing on technique and pressure, will help you simulate what it’s like during a live rolling session. It’s the best way to learn to maintain control and successfully execute the pass during a competition. 


Simple, effective, and incredibly valuable to every BJJ fighter, the knee slice pass allows you to apply consistent pressure to control and neutralize your opponents. Sharpen your mind and body, practice rigorously, and, as always, pay attention to every detail. These are the keys to executing this pass with confidence and precision and making it a reliable tool in your BJJ arsenal.