Class 2014-03-26: Toreando Pass

TransitionsThe Toreando open guard pass has a number of variations, but for all the variations, it’s basically all about throwing your opponents legs past your hips. 


This open guard pass is best executed when you have control of your opponents legs, and you are able to keep them from getting control of your leading foot.  As always, keep a good base with your hips low.  Your opponent is going to be attempting to establish their own control, which may include wrapping his legs over your arms, hooking your legs with their feet, and various other roadblocks to you passing guard.

It’s important to control both legs for this pass, so either control the ankles for no-gi, or grab the inside of the pant legs near the knee for gi.  Keep your elbows in towards the center of your body, which will shut down some of your opponents options for leg wraps, as well as keep your arms in a good strong position against superior leg strength.

Having just one leg forward and one leg back serves two purposes.  First, it removes one leg from your opponents control attempts, and secondly they only have one leg to attack.  If they manage to catch your leading ankle, circle your foot out and reset, always maintaining control of the legs.

Once you have all of these elements in place, it’s safe to go on to the actual pass.


Initiate the pass by driving into your opponent to load your weight into their legs. Next you are going to simultaneously kick your leading leg back and unload their legs and drive them past your hips.  Be aggressive about elevating your leg so they don’t have a chance of hooking your leg with their foot.

Take note that your initial position with one leg forward and one leg back is now two legs back with one in the air.  If you had started this pass with two legs forward, one leg would still be in range of counter grips.  The kick back is just a temporary way to get both legs out of range and help guarantee that your legs don’t get used against you.

Bring your elevated leg forward quickly.  Like all passes, your goal is to beat your opponents legs.  Establishing either knee on belly, or side control, will consolidate your position and ensure that your opponent is incapable of quickly reinserting their knee to regain their guard.  Which position you choose to go to is personal preference.

Dealing With Failure

Failure is always an option. For this pass, as soon as you load the legs, your opponent knows you are going to execute this pass. They will often try to turn into the pass in an attempt to retain their guard. If for some reason you are unable to maintain control of their legs, and they are able to turn into the pass so much that you feel like you can’t clear their legs, you have good backup options.

One option is to allow them to take their legs to that side.  Reinforce that decision and help their legs all the way to the ground.  AS you are pushing their knees across and down to the mat, circle around to their back and maintain pressure on the knees.  Although I try to maintain grips for as long as possible for most techniques, it’s better to switch your grips for the final push.

When you switch your grips, you make yourself less vulnerable to push escapes, where your opponent grabs on to your near arm and shoves your arm, and you, down towards their feet.  The grip switch also makes it easier to orient yourself to get side control much easier.  Your top arm is now able to drive up to underhook the head or to clear the arm if they are attempting to block your hip.


This pass is a nice quick way to pass open guard, but you need to make sure that your opponent hasn’t established any problematic controls.  When practicing this pass, remember that your are stepping your lead leg back, then across towards your other leg.  So if your right leg is forward, you are passing to the left.  Also drill with resistance, and if your opponent is able to turn into the pass attempt, remember you can always allow their legs to continue in that direction and pin their knees to the ground as you circle around towards their back.

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