Leg Drag Pass – Part V

We have been covering the leg drag pass quite a bit here at The Jiu Jitsu Laboratory. It’s one of the highest percentage guard passes at the black-belt level of Jiu Jitsu, and is virtually a requirement to know in the lighter weight classes. Last week the Rafa and Gui Mendes were kind enough to release a compilation video of the leg drag pass in action.

This was really helpful primarily since it demonstrated the variety of passes to which it can be linked. It works well in combination with the x-pass, the torreador pass and single underhook pass – to name but a few that were featured in the video (see last week’s post – The Leg Drag Pass – Part IV).


Case Study: Rafael Mendes vs. D. Nakamura – 2011 Mundials

This week, we focus on a case study – Rafael’s first match at the 2011 World Jiu Jitsu Championships against D. Nakamura. This has one of the best examples of the basic form of the leg drag pass, and it’s right at the beginning of the video for us impatient people. Here’s how Mendes does it:

1. Note how Rafa sets up the pass with his lead leg bent and pressuring forward to prevent the outside hook, and a firm grip on his opponent’s free leg. His opponent has a collar grip and a pant grip, and appears to be attempting to switch to a de la Riva guard variation.

2. Mendes is in position with his foot almost lined up with his opponent’s belt, killing the outside hook. If Nakamura didn’t have the pant grip, Mendes could use an x-pass variation here. However, since his leg is stuck, he moves Nakamura’s leg around his.


3. First he doubles up his grip on Nakamura’s free leg. I’ve seen this double grip done a number of ways. I prefer a knee and cr0ss-ankle grip, but in this case Mendes simply doubles up his grip on the ankle. As he begins to drag Nakamura’s leg across his body (hence the name of the pass) he extends his lead leg and hollows out his body, allowing the leg to have space to travel through unhindered. Rafael drags the leg all the way to the other side of his hip and pressures forward again with his lead knee.


4. From here, Nakamura’s hips are facing away from Rafael’s center – rarely a good place to be. Rafael’s hips are pressuring in, keeping the leg elevated and the knees pressed together. From here, there are several different options depending on the reaction of your opponent. First, we’ll look at the most common option, which is what to do if your opponent hips away is a last-ditch effort to re-guard.


5. Because Nakamura hip escaped to attempt to square up to Mendes, he opened up space for Mendes to sink his weight and claim side control. Because the opponent’s legs are elevated and your knee is close against their thigh, by hipping out he gives your space to move your knee into knee-on-belly or guide your body into side control.


6. However, if he did nothing you would pressure in with your lead knee and grip the lapel on that side with the same side arm, closing your elbow and knee to prevent their ability to hip escape. This is a very powerful position, and can lead to side control, mount or the back at your discretion. It’s fitting that I found an image of Rafael Lovato Jr. showing this position in a previous entry (Passing the Spider Guard), since Lovato showed some details of the leg drag pass just last week at the seminar.

7. The last option we will look at is one of the most powerful. When your opponent’s legs are dragged away from your center, they will often try to turn away with the momentum to turtle. Since your posture places you in a perfect position to control them and take there back, this can be very advantageous.

Otherwise, from the position shown by Lovato above simply reach the free hand to the back of the collar or take an underhook and work your hips to the chair sit position, where you can easily take the back. For examples of taking the back from the leg drag pass, check out the Mendes brother’s highlight video at 25 seconds and 1 minute and 10 seconds.
Previously on The Jiu Jitsu Laboratory:

Leg Drag Pass – Part I

Leg Drag Pass – Part II

Leg Drag Pass – Part III

Leg Drag Pass – Part IV

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1 Comment

Filed under Jiu Jitsu Technique

One response to “Leg Drag Pass – Part V

  1. Ckaa

    Hello, great article and great blog!

    There’s something bothering me with the leg drag pass. What do you do when the opponent tries to hip out like a madman? Do you try to fix the position (with the lead knee up or smashing the far leg?) or do you go to knee on belly/side control?


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