How To Connect Pressure Passes In BJJ

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a highly complex martial art with thousands of available techniques from various positions. If you watch the best in the world compete, you’ll notice that all of them don’t rely on just one attack but rather a string of attacks. 

It is critical to select techniques that work for your body type and complement other parts of your game. This article will discuss how to connect typical pressure passes into a cohesive system.


Benefits Of Pressure Passing

Pressure passing is one of the best ways to pass the guard. Pressure passing is a passing style where you use weight and body position to slowly remove your opponent’s defenses and eventually secure the pass. It is a relatively safe approach because you generally work from a lower stance and rely on body positioning to remove your opponent’s frames. 

This means that people of all sizes can use pressure passing to great effect. Pressure passing is especially useful for older grapplers because it negates many modern guards (and leglock entries). It also requires little athleticism and has been tested in championship-level matches for decades. 

Another reason why pressure passing is always a fantastic choice is its versatility. Using pressure to pass the guard is effective for both gi and no-gi grappling. BJJ champions such as Murilo Santana and Bernardo Faria have relied on pressure passing for most of their career. They have gained tremendous success using this approach, so much so that their names are now associated with this passing style. 

You can also use pressure passing in mixed martial arts, as shown by fighters like Shinya Aoki, Daniel Cormier, and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Having a suffocating passing style greatly benefits fighters who love to use ground and pound and submissions to finish fights.


Pressure Passing: Double Under Stack Pass

In this video, Keenan Cornelius demonstrates one of the most basic yet effective passes in BJJ, the double under stack pass. He mentions that this is perhaps the best guard pass for lower belts since underhooking the opponent’s legs solves the common issue of your opponent gripping your sleeve. This means that annoying guards like the spider, lasso, and even the collar and sleeve guard can be prevented easily.

He starts by discussing the entry for the pass. A great way to enter the double under pass is to first isolate a leg by pinning it to the mat. This will tilt your opponent’s body towards a side. This shift in position allows you to scoop the other leg using an underhook grip. 

Note that you need to scoop the leg so that it rests on your shoulder; you will not have enough leverage to move your opponent if the leg is resting on your arm. 

Once the grip is secured, you can now remove the hand that’s pinning the isolated leg and proceed with getting an underhook grip on that side. The end position enables you to control both legs (and hip) using your underhooks. You can then pass the guard by elevating the hip at an angle to clear the legs. This useful technique is utilized from the beginner up to the black belt level. 


Pressure Passing: Over Under Pass

This is another high pressure technique and is an excellent alternative if you cannot get the underhook on the pinned leg. Notice that Lachlan Giles starts his demonstration with the same position that Keenan showed after pinning a leg. 

For simplicity’s sake, if you can get the underhook on the other leg, then use the double under pass. You can use the over under if you need to add another layer of attack to beat your opponent’s frames. 

The basic goal of the over under pass is to get past your opponent’s knee line using your leg. An important step before attempting to pass is to loop your arm over the pinned leg while grabbing the pants and switching your head towards the side of the underhooked leg. 

Doing this will place your body at an angle where it is difficult for the bottom player to recover guard. You are forcing your opponent to a position where their defensive options are limited, thus making your pass that much stronger. 

For the finish, you have the option of either working a smash pass from the over under position or by hopping to the other side to secure the pass. Both options are viable and can be used as a 1-2 combination.


The Value Of Drilling

You must drill your pressure passing techniques as much as you can. Most beginners fail to employ these passes because they are not used to driving their bodyweight on their training partners. 

The first step to an effective pressure passing game is to put the bottom player in compromising positions using leverage, weight, and technique. It is an absolute requirement to drill these techniques (especially the entries) so that you’ll get used to the feeling of driving your weight on another person. Work on the entries first if you are new to these techniques. Ask for feedback from your coach and training partners to ensure that your technique is tight.

The great thing about pressure passing is you don’t have to know many techniques to be a dangerous guard passer. We are confident that you’ll improve your passing ability if you practice these two techniques diligently. Use these two basic techniques as the cornerstone of your pressure passing game. You can add more layers as you become more proficient.



The art of pressure passing is a nuanced yet devastating angle of BJJ. It is a style where all grapplers can benefit from and versatile enough to use on any grappling ruleset. 

Regardless of where you are in your Jiu-Jitsu journey, it is recommended that you at least try these techniques to see if you like them. Train with the intent of improving your technique every time you step on the mats. Enjoy the process and let us know how it goes!


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BJJ Over-Under Guard Passing