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.