Crush Your Opponents Down With the Side Smash with Keenan Cornelius

Crush Your Opponents Down With the Side Smash with Keenan Cornelius

Passing someone's guard can get pretty challenging - especially against long and lanky guard players. They can push you off with their legs and keep you at a distance, right where they want you. One way to get around this is with some good old pressure passing like the side smash pass. 

The position is from the top position trapping their top leg with your legs. Chest pressure on their trapped leg with a head/arm triangle like grip putting shoulder pressure down on them. This will get those dangerous legs out of the equation, giving you a much better chance of passing the guard. 

Keenan starts off by explaining  that the Side Smash Pass is similar to a body lock pass, but a little different.  Instead of grabbing their legs to pass, you contort their spine in a way that they can’t stop the pass.

You twist their body in a way that they can’t do any explosive movements to stop it.The trick to this position is getting there, because most people won’t let you fall into this position. But there are ways to set it up. Let's check it out. 

How to Setup the Side Smash

So, the set-up for this technique starts from open guard with you standing over the opponent. You bait them with a knee cut pass across their leg. When you do this, your opponent will likely bring their free leg over across your hip to stop the pass.

It is important to grab their ankle and stuff it between your legs for control. Otherwise, they will be able to go into a leg-lock position like 50/50.

Keenan stresses not to go straight at your opponent. By doing so, your opponent can get an underhook and start defending. Instead, go off to the side towards their back locking up a head/arm grip. 

Now, your opponent’s spine will be contorted in different directions unable to defend the pass. It’s up to you how you want to pass.

Alternate Setup Options

This is for when they’re sitting up defending your pass attempts. Keenan explains all you have to do is push them to their back, then grab an ankle. 

After you grab an ankle, you put their leg in between yours, and you squat on top of it. You end up right in the sidesmash like the first option.

Keenan also explained that you can fall into the sidesmash position from a scramble, so be aware.

Finishing the Side Smash Pass

The great thing about the sidesmash pass is it gives different options for passing guard.

Straight to mount: Very simple pass. All you need to do is pass your leg over their top knee, move up, and you’re in mount.

Pass to sidemount: Put pressure down and drop your hips to the same side and walk your legs free. Then just block their hips, move up to sidemount, and flatten them out.

Final Thoughts

This technique is great that will help in your pressure passing game. The placement of your knee between their legs while contorting their spine essentially makes them prone to it. 

That’s why it functions the same way a bodylock does. You’re using heavy top pressure and keeping them flat on their back, which makes it easier to pass.

There really isn’t any threat of them sweeping you from this position either. Only the small chance of going into a leg-lock position if they get their trapped leg free. Though since you’re on your toes, it'll be easy to defend by backing away and start setting up another pass.

The sidesmash pass is super effective and hard to defend if you set it up just right. Add this on to your arsenal and your top game will be killer!

Want More Content From Keenan?

You can find more techniques from Keenan as well as his jiu jitsu podcast, The Matburn on his Youtube page. You can also follow him on IG where he regularly posts some good technique videos.