The ‘Leg Weave’ pass (also known as the ‘Hip Smash’) is a pressure guard passing technique that relies on correctly positioning your bodyweight to pin your opponent’s hips and then methodically work your way past his legs.
It relies more on sensitivity, weight distribution, and patience than on speed and athleticism. As such it’s a great pass for older, slower grapplers to use against the young punks 😉
In this article we’ll take a look at the 6 steps of this guard pass and then – equally important – how to shut it down…
How to Do the Leg Weave Guard Pass
This super-useful guard pass has always been one of my favorites, and even after having been a black belt for 14 years I continue to learn details which improve it.
For example last year the great Fabio Gurgel showed me a detail which changed the way I do this pass. Specifically that change was at step 4 below.
Formerly I had formerly used my right shoulder to crush the upper thighs together using my bodyweight at that step, but now I put all the weight on his belly with my forehead instead and just use my arms to stop his legs from tracking me.
The change in effectiveness by incorporating that one small detail has been impressive!
Let’s cover the 6 basic steps of the leg weave pass…
How to Counter the Leg Weave Guard Pass
Since this is such a powerful pass you need to know how to counter it.
Here’s a video called “Simple Counters and Defenses for the Hip Smash / Leg Weave Half Guard Pass” from The Guard Retention Formula that I put on Youtube.
In it BJJ black belt (and my friend) Rory Van Vliet takes you though the options you can deploy at the different stages of the pass.
It’ll show you how to stop the leg weave pass and get back to a good guard position.
Check it out…
How Guard Retention Improves Your Guard Passing and Vice Versa
If you watched the video above there’s something you might have noticed…
Before Rory and I taught the counters to the guard pass we first quickly taught the guard pass itself.
In part this is to provide good service for the viewers. This way even though the instructional is primarily about preventing guard passes they’ll also get the key details on performing guard passes.
But there’s also a larger point, namely…
Working on your guard passing will improve your guard retention. And working on your guard retention will improve your guard passing.
This is because by getting better at guard passing you learn which control points and grips you need to get. Then when you find yourself on the bottom you’ll know which grips and control points to deny to your opponent.
It’s the same the other way around…
By getting really good on the bottom you learn how to position your body, legs, and arms to make it hard to pass your guard. Then when you end up on top you’ll know exactly which structures you have to disassemble in order to get past his legs and secure the top position.
Guard passing and guard retention are two sides of the same coin.
A Formula for Guard Retention
So The Guard Retention Formula is an instructional that I produced with my friend and super-analytical BJJ black belt Rory Van Vliet.
It’s a step-by-step system for making your guard incredibly difficult to pass. And it comes with a money-back 365 day guarantee if it doesn’t help you.
If you train BJJ then I think this is one of the most directly useful instructionals you can get.
A System for Pressure Passing
The Pressure Passing System is an instructional that I put out with Fabio Gurgel.
Fabio has coached more than 50 World Champions and is a 4 time world champion himself. And even though he’s almost 50 years old his intense pressure passing and top game still make him a terror on the mats, hanging with much younger players and tapping them out.
His pressure passing system will shut down your opponents’ guards, wear them down, and have them practically give you the guard pass because they’ll be so tired of fighting you.
Take care, and good luck with your training,