Toreando Guard Pass (All You Need to Know!)

As a wise practitioner, you should be well-versed in various BJJ guard passes, such as the toreando pass. For those unfamiliar with the term, a guard pass is a move used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to damage an opponent’s guard and achieve dominant positioning.

The toreando guard pass, also known as the bullfighter pass, is a savage and effective guard pass in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It is one of the basic guard passing techniques used at all BJJ levels. 

The bullfighter pass has many different variations that are equally effective, but understanding the best way to execute it is critical. This article will teach you how to perform a toreando guard pass and explain what this technique entails.

Toreando Guard Pass History

Since the beginnings, the Toreando pass (also toreada pass or bullfighter pass) has been a staple of the art of jiu-jitsu and grappling. There is old footage of Tsunetane Oda, one of the foremost innovators of Newaza and Kosen judo, practicing this type of guard pass in the early twentieth century.

The obsession in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with the ground game and smashing techniques, particularly with the open guard, has made the bullfighter pass one of the most popular guard passing techniques.

In recent decades, jiu-jitsu has progressed significantly as a sport, particularly with new rules. The larger competitors were driven to begin passing more frequently from a standing position throughout the 1990s, employing techniques such as the toreada to counter the ever-evolving open guard game.

An excellent illustration of this was the duel between Roberto “Roleta” Magalhaes and Fabio Gurgel at the 1996 Brasileiro championship in Rio de Janeiro.

Source: Chris Savarese

In this legendary match (video above), Gurgel neutralized Magalhaes’ novel game and passed one of the most challenging guards in the sport’s history. Furthermore, he used a simple toreando move, demonstrating the symbiotic relationship between the evolutions of guard passing and guard playing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

These days, some of the most renowned toreando guard passers include Andre Galvao, Guilherme Mendes, Fernando Terere, and Leonardo Vieira, Leandro Lo, Rodolfo Vieira to name a few.

Jiu-Jitsu Toreando Guard Pass Variations

Source: Stephan Kesting

In the above video, Stephan Kesting demonstrates 5 top toreando guard pass variations, such as:

  • Old School Toreando Pass to Knee-On-Belly

This classic pass straight to the knee on the stomach is more common than using the initial grips to gain side control. It can be used whenever your opponent does not sit up or does not sit up quickly enough to prevent you from gaining a knee-on-belly.

Use this bullfighter passing method to go straight to a dominant, scoring position when your partner allows it.

  • Shoulder Smash Toreando Pass

This is a classic toreando pass to the side control position while using your shoulder to smash the opponent to the mat. To perform this guard passing technique, you need to:

  1. From standing versus a seated opponent, begin by grabbing the inside of the opponent’s pants legs.
  2. Straightening your arms to bring their knees together, lock your arms in place.
  3. Drive your partner’s feet to the ground while maintaining control using your core. 
  4. Walk around to the side and drive your shoulder into your partner’s chest area, ultimately flattening them. 
  5. Switch to 100 kilos position to finish the pass.
  • Push and Pull Toreando

This is another toreando pass variation. Again, one hand punches out to about 45 degrees, and the other punches underneath the elbows. Then you must make the necessary space to carry out the technique correctly.

  • Steering Wheel Toreando Pass

This is another bullfighter pass variation that uses a steering wheel motion. It is used when your opponent is flat on his back trying to play an open guard, such as the spider guard.

No-Gi Toreando Pass

You also perform the Toreando Pass in No-Gi training, even though you don’t have access to pant grips. First, control the opponent’s ankles while applying inward pressure to force the opponent to respond with force.

Then, following his response, you can throw the opponent’s legs down, nearly to the side of your body, almost as if placing them into your pocket was your intention. After, close distance to the side on your way to the side control.

Lachlan Giles teaches you 3 No-Gi Toreando Pass Variations in the following video.

Source: Absolute MMA St Kilda – Melbourne

How to Counter the Toreando Guard Pass?

One effective bullfighter guard pass defense is to grab the attack sleeve near the elbow. And, then make a stand up to drive the attack’s body away from you.

Grabbing the attack sleeve around the elbow is one of the most effective bullfighter pass defenses. Then, you need to stand up and push the attacker’s body away from you at the right time.

In the video below, Rob Biernacki demonstrates how to counter the toreando guard pass in Gi and No-Gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu.


The toreando guard pass “or bullfighter guard pass” technique is an excellent way to get past your opponent’s guard, especially from an open guard. It’s one of the fundamental guard passes that may be used at any level of jiu-jitsu. However, mastering it will take time and effort.