Leg Drag Pass Instructional



Leg Drag Pass | The Jiu Jitsu Laboratory



The leg drag is a powerful guard pass that relies on posture and pressure to systematically dismantle your opponent’s defenses. It should ideally be part of a large guard passing system based on the openings and reactions provided by your opponent. This video on the leg drag pass is an overview of one such system. For every technique or variation that was included in this instructional, there are probably a dozen that were left out. This is just one path of many for defeating your opponent’s guard, but one that I believe is ideal for any body type or skill level.

Posture is fundamental to guard passing and the leg drag is no different. Every technique demonstrated here should be practiced with the ideas of posture and pressure in mind. In each technique strive to stay on your toes, pushing forward with good posture – hips low, center of gravity balanced, not reaching too far with your arm, and keeping your spine straight.

Using the leg drag and related passes provides you specific goals at each stage of the pass. First, you control the leg. With or without a gi, controlling and elevating the legs prevents your opponent’s hip movement and ability to stand. Likewise, stapling their leg to the ground with pressure leads to the same objective. Second, you must control the hips. In the leg drag position the hips are controlled by using your body weight to keep your opponent’s legs to one side, with the belt grip providing additional hip control. Next, control over the shoulders must be obtained. This is where the lapel grip is key. It helps to prevent your opponent from both sitting into you or pushing away. When attempting the leg drag pass your opponent will often try everything he or she can to push you away and create space. Use your grips to reign in your opponent and wait out the escape attempts. As you feel their pressure beginning to wane, you can drive forward with your shoulder (keeping your neck and spine aligned) to ensure that their shoulders are flat on the mat. From here the pass is virtually guaranteed.

The strength of the leg drag pass also comes from being able to chose the final position. One of the few escapes from the leg drag is to turn away, giving up the back. If your opponent doesn’t turn away, you’re still in position to take the back using the techniques shown in this video, or consolidate mount or side control based on your preference and strategy. Lastly, several submissions are opened up by the leg drag pass, namely the armbar, Ezekiel choke and brabo choke.

When putting this video together I relied on information from a variety of sources. My main understanding of the pass came from reverse engineering competition footage from the likes of Leonardo Vieira, Rafael Mendes, Rodolfo Vieira and Ryan Hall. My instructor Adam Ryan filled in a lot of gaps and continues to be instrumental in deepening my understanding of Jiu Jitsu. Additionally I picked up details about passing the guard from Rafael Lovato Jr as well as Martin Aedma’s excellent videos and blog. Elliot from Open Mat taught some excellent leg drag options when I stopped by his gym in Toronto. And of course the Mendes brothers teaching has been vital to my understanding of the leg drag pass. I wanted to provide my own understanding of the leg drag without just replicating what other people teach much better or giving away too many details that are taught by others. Lastly I need to thank my partner in the video, Jeff from The Jiu Jitsu Vortex, without whose help this video couldn’t have been made.

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18 responses to “Leg Drag Pass Instructional

  1. Kazing

    You have no idea how happy I am that you made this!

  2. Great job, make more. More videos, more content!

  3. Martin

    A gem of an instructional. Many thanks

  4. Mike

    I hope people appreciate all your hard work. This has always been a great website, and another great post. This is the best one yet!! Keep up the good work!

  5. DT

    Your leg drag position from the first section, Introduction, seems different from all the other leg drag instructionals I’ve seen in that you keep the knee between his legs up, and the knee outside his hips down. In other tutorials, and even later in your video, you drive the knee between his legs to the mat, and base out with your outside leg. Can you clarify? Thanks.

    • Good point DT – I prefer keeping my leg up between my opponent’s legs, but I use both.

      Some people choose to pin the leg and some don’t. Both are great. The reason I don’t is to be able to apply more forward pressure by not losing any force by pushing into my opponent’s leg.

      If my shin is already in their knee, they can’t put their foot to the ground or hip out. This means that I can take my shin off of their thigh and push from my toes down into their hips and shoulders – which are the more important places to have my weight connected to my opponent. It also allows my to squeeze my knees to control the hips better.

      Hope this clarifies that point, but both are okay as long as you have a reason!

  6. nick

    That was a great video, very well explained with multiple angles so you can catch every detail. You’ve definitely given me a clear idea of how better I can practice my drills for guard passing. Thank you.

  7. Like Minded Jiu-Jitsu

    I would buy this if you sold it on dvd….. Great job!!

  8. Nick

    Any major changes/pointers grip wise when modifying this for no gi? Any help would be appreciated…
    Keep up the excellent work btw.. Love Reading your blog!!!

  9. Gregz

    Haven’t updated in over a month! I would like to see what you have been doing lately.

    • Wow, has it been that long? I’ve been taking care of our newborn, doing lots of writing and getting ready for summer field research. Still training hard, but no time for the blog, yet!

  10. I really like using your video to supplement the things we’ve been working on.This is such a big help for me.

    Thanks again


  11. JJ

    Off-topic but what brand belts are you guys wearing in the leg drag video?

  12. Kristjan

    Nice summary, but totally different play when bottom guy controls your collar (push-pull attacks). I have problems with that, as soon as i break the grip, bottom guy takes the lapel again and this kind of game is impossible to do. I notice in some cases Mendes bros still keep passing and dont break the collar grip first. The thing is you need to have awesome/powerful posture and hips to keep passing like that – keeping your head and sholders upright. In my case the bottom guy always dismantles myupright/vertical posture with collar control, even when i try to keep pushing my hips in like when doing a clean.

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