How To Stay In The Eye Of The Storm And Defeat Chaos Passing: Part 3

What to do when we messed up a long time ago? In this third installment (part 1 and part 2) we will talk about what to do when our opponent actually gets to start toreando passing. It’s always better to be safe than sorry but if you are sorry it’s better to know how to properly apologize.

Keeping The Distance

Since your opponent starts out with using space in order to have movability it won’t be your first priority to keep him away but as soon as he makes his way past your legs it will be very important to control the distance. No matter how a pass starts it will always end with closing the distance because all submissions require you to be close to the person.

Basically you will try to keep him from smashing your face by pushing away his shoulders and hips while hip escaping and reinserting your legs in order to try and reestablish some kind of guard.

The video below shows a nice example of this; if someone were to toreando straight for the side control instead of to the leg drag you would have more focus on breaking the outside grip.

Closing The Leg Against Your Side

One very important concept is keeping your legs close to your body as soon as you can sense your opponent starting to move. By keeping yourself tight and compact you effectively eliminate the space het needs to actually take the side control. Since it’s a bit hard to explain words I made this easy to understand visual representation for you.

Space: Friend Or Foe?

The main weapon of our passer is space, what do we know about space? Well the more space the more it’s possible to move, the thing is though: it goes both ways. So if he can move I can move and if he can attack then I can attack. Another important note is that all submission and attacks in general end with being close to the other person. If you do a triangle then you are close with you core to his head and if you take his back your chest is close to his back.

There is so much thinking involved in jiu jitsu. But why is bjj more philosophical than other martial arts? find out here.

Andrew Raynor Dover NH

Change The Angle And Attack

When all is said and done, a toreando pass is really just a guy pushing away your legs and then running at you really hard. Now, you could try to tie him down by his legs or his collars but you could also avoid him all together, make him run past you in a way. This can be done in two ways, first way is a classic Marcelo Garcia Style stiff arm escape and the second way is an arm drag.

The stiff arm is done by crossing one of his arms in front of him so that the direction of his shoulders makes it impossible to actually put any pressure on you. From there you have a lot of options to reguard or even counter attack as Jeff Glover shows in this video.

This type of defense is kind of a late defense as you would prefer to never let him start the movement or block it before he makes it past your legs but it’s great to have a counter for when he does get this far. It’s fairly risky as it is very commonly used and a fairly static defense so good players will have re counters. Use this with caution when all else has failed.

Strike From The Heart Of The Storm

Do you like practicing advanced techniques when you should probably be focusing on the basics? Me too, it’s my biggest jiu-jitsu weakness. So what we are going to look at now is a toreando pass counter that’s so late that I actually had to google “knee on belly escape” to find a good video about it.

Andrew Raynor Dover NH

The situation goes like this, you are rolling with a guy and through skill and physical prowess he is able to toreando pass you. Luckily you have been keeping some distance and didn’t get smashed in the face. In this kind of situation the passer will most likely go for the knee on belly (he might actually go for this regardless of how you defend) and you respond to this by sneaking your close leg in through his legs to put him into the 50/50 guard. I know it sounds very confusing but luckily we have an excellent video explain this technique for you.

This knee on belly defense is the favorite of many high level players, it does require some flexibility but it’s very high percentage. When you get the timing right you’ll get the 50/50 more than they get the 50/50. Another great way to set this up is when you are able to keep one spider guard hook and he tries to walk past your guard anyways.


Throughout this series on defending against the toreando pass we went through all of the stages of defense: avoiding, negating, surviving and countering. Remember these three steps every time you are trying to figure out a how to deal with a certain technique in jiu jitsu. Avoiding and negating will always be the safest bet and will help you set up your own game. Surviving is the weakest because you get in a defensive mindset. Late counters are very interesting since they are high risk high reward which is why I recommend only using them in extreme situations instead of really actively looking for them.

Andrew Raynor Dover NH

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Andrew Raynor

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