The Pretzel Pressure Pass by Braulio Estima

The Pretzel Pressure Pass by Braulio Estima

Braulio Estima is one of the most accomplished BJJ athletes of all time. He has won everything from ADCC gold to 3 IBJJF World Championships.

Estima is known for being an innovator having developed the Estima Lock and is also a master of the reverse triangle.

Another facet of Estima’s game is his pressure passing ability. There is one great guard pass he does that he calls “the pretzel pressure pass.”

The pretzel pressure pass is a high percentage guard pass that we are going to break down today. We’ll take you through the steps of how to do it and some of the key details you should consider.

The Pretzel Pressure Pass by Braulio Estima

The Pretzel Pressure Pass

Your first step with the pressure pass is to get an underhook on your opponent and grab their collar. Then you quickly rotate your body to the other side and stack your opponent. Forcing their foot to touch the mat next to their head.

A lot of people have questioned doing this, because it can leave you off balance and open for a flower sweep. That is why the positioning of your knee is such an important detail here.

Your foot needs to be anchored to the ground with your knee under your opponent’s hip. If you remember this detail, your opponent cannot sweep you.

As you are driving into your opponent, you will drive their knee towards their head. For normal people that aren’t that flexible, this will open their guard.

But for those that are more flexible, you can open their guard, you will underhook under their leg to break it. Once you slide your underhook in, you’re going to connect your hands together.

Then your next step is to get your opponent’s knee to the other side of their head. Once the knee passes, grab their Achilles to hold their leg in place to the mat.

From here, grab your opponent’s wrist or even better their sleeve if you’re training in the Gi. Your opponent is now stuck like a pretzel, and you have two different options you can go to.

The first is to just pass or the second is to go right into a triangle choke. To pass, just keep moving to the side and push their leg away to take side-control.

To go to the triangle just sit back and wrap your leg over your arm, lock in your triangle and finish. You don’t have to take your arm out to finish the triangle from here and it creates more pressure.

A very easy pass that you can use to go right into the triangle.

Key Details To Remember

  • The Underhook: The whole pass begins with you getting an underhook on your opponent with a collar grip. If you do not establish control of their arm, then they can easily defend the pass.
  • Hip And Foot Placement: The most important details of this technique are the placement of your hip and foot. They both must be placed directly under your opponent’s hips to keep them from sweeping you. Without this proper placement, you’re off balance and your opponent can get an easy flower sweep.
  • Head To Knee: Once you have proper knee/foot placement, you must drive your opponent’s knee to their head. This makes them uncomfortable and liable to open their guard.
  • Underhook The Leg: To get your opponent to open their guard, underhook their leg and clasp your hands together. Then once your hands are connected, push their knee to the other side of their head to make them uncomfortable.
  • Palm The Achilles: After your opponent’s knee passes over their head hold their leg in place by palming their achilles. This is so you can get them in position to grab your sleeve/wrist grip.
  • Sleeve/Wrist Grip: Grab hold of your opponent’s sleeve or wrist to put them into the pretzel.
  • Finishing Options: Your finishing options include passing the guard or falling back into a triangle. The choice is yours.

Final Thoughts

Braulio Estima’s pretzel pressure pass is a mouthful to say but is incredibly effective. When done correctly, your opponent is left with zero space to move as they are crushed to the mat in a pretzel.

If you love stack passes, this is one hell of a technique. It might be worth spending the time to consider adding to your game. Watch the master Braulio as he takes you through how to do this technique below.