BJJ Knee Shield: A Game-Changing Technique!

The BJJ knee shield, also known as Z-Guard, is an invaluable asset to any individual who practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This guard entails positioning one of your legs as a shield that acts as a buffer between you and your adversary, thus giving rise to its moniker.

The Knee Shield BJJ is a great tool for increasing the gap between you and your opponent, as well as providing a range of offensive and defensive choices, such as installing sweeps, chokes, and transitioning to other guard positions.

This post will provide a comprehensive look at knee shield techniques in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. We will take you through the best practices of employing the knee shield to stop guard passing, as well as how to use it to complete sweeps and submissions. Stay tuned!

Understanding the Knee Shield Guard

Source: BJJ Fanatics

The BJJ knee shield guard is when you use your knee to block your opponent. You typically place your knee across their chest or hip, keeping them from getting close and controlling them. Your other leg can be used for hooks, control, or setting up sweeps and submissions.

Different Variations and Grips for the BJJ Knee Shield

Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

There are numerous types of knee shield BJJ guards, each having its own benefits.

For example, the high knee shield, where the knee is held up against the adversary’s chest, and the low knee shield, where the knee is held lower on the opponent.

Additionally, the grips used can differ, from the collar and sleeve holds to underhooks and belt grips.

Why Learn the BJJ Knee Shield?

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu knee shield helps the bottom player control the game pace and block the opponent’s attack, among other things:

  • Enhanced Control and Stabilization Against Opponents: One of the benefits of the knee shield guard is that it gives you control. It acts like a barrier, keeping your opponent away and preventing them from getting close. This allows you to stay in control and plan your next move.
  • Increased Opportunities for Sweeps and Submissions: The jiu-jitsu knee shield guard can be used for both defense and offense. By controlling your opponent’s posture and movement, you can set up a variety of attacks, from simple sweeps to complex submissions.
  • Blocked Guard Passing Attempts: The knee shield prevents guard passes. It stops your opponent from passing your guard. This lets you stay in your defensive position and counter-attack when the chance arises.

How Do You Effectively Play Knee Shield Guard in Jiu-Jitsu?

Executing an effective jiu-jitsu Knee shield necessitates proper placement of the knee; in addition to other elements as mentioned below:

  • Proper Positioning and Frame Management: To use the knee shield guard effectively, you need to position and frame manage well. Your knee shield should be active, not passive, constantly adjusting to your opponent’s movements. You also need to use your other limbs effectively to control and maintain your guard.
  • Employing Leverage and Angles to Control Opponents: By taking advantage of the knee shield guard, angles and leverage become your allies. Properly angling your body and making the most of the BJJ knee shield can help to generate leverage, allowing you to manage your opponent’s maneuvers and open up striking opportunities.
  • Transitioning to Different Guards from Knee Shield: The knee shield is adaptable and makes a great starting point for switching to other types of guard. To illustrate, you can move to the basic half-guard, full-guard, butterfly-guard, or X-guard from the knee shield jiu-jitsu position.

Knee Shield BJJ Submissions

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ Fanatics

There are a lot of submission techniques that can be performed using the Knee Shield Guard in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Reverse Armbar to Omoplata to Invisible Armbar

Beginning from the jiu-jitsu knee shield, try a rapid reverse armbar to the near arm. If unsuccessful, change to an omoplata without delay, then perform an invisible armbar, and then go back to the omoplata.

These moves confuse your opponent and increase the prospect of successfully submitting them.

Related: Unleash the power of the armbar and elevate your BJJ game to new heights! This devastating armlock is a must-have technique for any serious practitioner. Click here to learn more!

Americana Lock

Starting from the BJJ knee shield, you can work towards an Americana submission. You can do this by thwarting your opponent’s cross-face arm, crab-walking to the side, and inserting a butterfly hook.

Finally, to finalize the Americana, you just need to straighten your body.

Triangle Choke

From the knee shield BJJ position, you can apply a triangle choke by controlling your opponent’s far wrist, removing the butterfly hook, and putting your foot on his hip. You then need to bring your other leg over his shoulder to lock in the triangle.

Kimura Lock

The Kimura lock is a popular submission originating from the knee shield jiu-jitsu position. It requires using both hands against the opponent’s far hand. This submission can be used to progress into other techniques.

Loop Choke

Starting from the knee shield position, a loop choke can be established. You can use the collar grip effectively both as a deterrent and a submission, causing your adversary to hesitate when applying pressure.

Cross Choke

From the knee shield position, you can set up a cross choke. To do this, you need to use your collar grip and lure your opponent to lean into you.

After that, take out your shin and make them fall forward. As soon as they do, quickly grab a second collar grip and apply the choke.

Knee Bar

When you have your opponent off-balance, you can use your shin and top arm to push their weight away and then quickly reach for their legs to apply the knee bar leg lock.

Knee Shield Jiu-Jitsu Sweeps and Transitions to Dominant Positions

The knee shield guard can be used to gain a range of techniques and transitions to powerful positions.

For instance, it can be used to sweep your adversary and progress to the mount or back control.

Source: BJJ Fanatics


The knee shield guard is a versatile tool in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It gives you control over your opponent, allows you to do sweeps and submissions, and gives you protection against guard passes.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced practitioner, the knee shield guard can be a valuable addition to your BJJ game.

If you haven’t already, I would suggest giving the knee shield guard a shot. It can really help your guard game and give you a range of offensive options.

Remember, the secret to getting good at any position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is lots of practice and dedication.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Knee Shield Guard in BJJ?

In BJJ, the knee shield guard is an application of the knee as a shield between you and your adversary.

This position provides you with control over how far apart you and your opponent are, allowing you to remain in a defensive stance while preparing for different strikes.

How Can I Improve My Knee Shield Guard?

To get better at keeping your knee shield guard, practice proper posture, learn ways to use your body’s leverage and angles, and do drills with or without a partner to hone your skills for maintaining and regaining the guard.

Can I Attack from the Knee Shield Guard?

The knee shield guard can be used for more than just a defensive role; it can also be employed offensively. By using the knee shield guard, one has the opportunity to initiate a variety of submissions, such as chokes, arm locks, and leg locks.

Can I Transition to Other Guards from the Knee Shield Guard?

The knee shield guard is very flexible and can be used to progress to other guards such as full guard, butterfly guard, or X-guard.

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