How To Connect Standing Passes In BJJ

The standing pass in BJJ is a significant aspect of guard passing that all Jiu-Jitsu students should develop; this is especially important as they face more advanced guard players. The more experienced the guard player, the harder it will be to apply underhooks, thus requiring you to switch to standing passes. 

In this article, we will talk about how to connect the standing passes in BJJ to help you become a much better guard passer.


The Standing Pass In BJJ

As you delve deeper into Jiu-Jitsu, you will come across experienced grapplers at some point. It is difficult enough to pass the guard of an efficient guard player, even more so to submit and pin him down, as they will constantly be controlling space and distance. This gives importance to know when to switch between kneeling and standing passes.

The benefit of kneeling to pass the opponent’s guard is that your center of gravity is close to the ground, making it harder for the opponent to sweep you. It is also more difficult for the opponent to attempt leg locks. The trade-off is that it’s easier for your opponent to attack your neck and arms. While most students are taught to pass the guard kneeling, standing passes are often easier to learn.

In a self-defense situation, standing passes give you the option to retreat and avoid strikes in range. It also minimizes the risk of getting submitted. Although standing passes make you more exposed to leg locks and sweeps, it will be more difficult for the opponent to attempt upper body submissions. If your opponent is keen on upper body submissions, consider using standing guard passes if you end up in their guard.


Connecting The Standing Passes In BJJ

As mentioned, standing passes will make it difficult for the opponent to apply upper body submissions due to distance. If you are a lighter grappler, you will also be able to use your speed advantage better as you move side to side.

First, it is essential to establish your grip on the opponent’s pants to control his lower body movements in a standing guard pass. Although some passes do not require grips, such as the cartwheel pass, establishing grips will make your guard pass more efficient. 

Below are some examples of standing guard passes in BJJ.


1) Leg Drag Pass To North-South

The leg drag pass can transition to the north-south position. It starts by grabbing the opponent’s ankle to move and putting his feet on the hips. Secure the leg by closing and controlling the opponent’s ankle with your elbow.

As the opponent tries to recover his guard by stepping over his far leg, continue by grabbing it with your far hand. Remove your initial ankle control with your near arm and reach the mat by putting it between his legs, placing it palm down. Walk your body to the side and let go of the far hand grip, placing both of your hands on the mat and sprawl to pass his guard landing in north-south.

This leg drag can also be utilized to go to the side control in a much simpler version. The steps are similar to the leg drag to north-south. Start by securing the two on one grip on the opponent’s ankle to secure the leg drag. As the opponent tries to recover the guard, hug their far leg, drop their near ankle to the mat, sprawl, and move your body to the opposite side to secure the side control.


2) Toreando Pass To Choke

The toreando pass is also known as the bull rider guard pass as it mimics the movements of a matador. While the toreando pass usually ends up in the side control, Kurt Osiander’s version, as shown in the video, is an excellent example of how to apply the pass to secure the knee on belly leading to a choke.

When executing a toreando pass, it is important to remember not to keep a squared stance, but a staggered one, with your lead leg leading to the side you wanted to pass. Grab the opponent’s pants and grip the inside knee area without flaring your elbows. While grabbing the legs, push it forward to give pressure and step on the near side with your lead leg as you swing the opponent’s leg to the opposite side. Continue by securing the pass with a knee ride and finish with a collar choke.


3) Throwby Pass

The throwby pass is an excellent guard pass against an opponent who is good at keeping distance. It is first done by grabbing the opponent’s ankle to maintain contact. Like the toreando pass, the throwby pass requires you to swing the opponent’s leg to the opposite side as you dive your shoulder with your body facing the opponent’s leg, similar to the reverse kesa gatame position. You complete the pass by placing the opponent into side control.


4) Cartwheel Pass To Back Take

The cartwheel pass requires a bit of athleticism, but with minimal grip, unlike the other standing passes. This standing guard pass is generally seen in the no-gi but is just as effective in the gi, given that the opponent has no grips on you. It is done by securing the wrist on the side you wanted to pass with a staggered stance.

As soon as the opponent moves forward, continue with the wrist control with your other hand posting at the opponent’s back. An important detail in the cartwheel pass demonstrated by Nick Rodriguez is to place your foot between the opponent’s foot and your head on the opponent’s shoulder before going for the cartwheel to finish with a back take and seatbelt, leaving them open for a choke.



There are different ways to perform a standing guard pass. It is vital in BJJ to know when to apply each technique, as every opponent reacts differently. Practicing various standing guard passes and combining them with submissions will only make you a better grappler, leaving you with many options when opportunities allow.


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