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Gianna Cruz Instructional Series:

Instructor Bio:

Hello! My name is Gianna Cruz and I’m a 14-year-old orange belt training out of Essential Jiu-Jitsu in New York. I’ve been training in Jiu-Jitsu for around six years, and I became the 2023 Pan American Champion and 2023 ADCC Champion. I enjoy jiu-jitsu because it gives me a great challenge both mentally and physically. Outside of jiu-jitsu, I love spending time with family and friends, and I love photography.

Course Outline:

Part 1: X-Guard

Part 2: Crazy Dog Pass

Part 3: Kimura

Part 4: Giftwrap

Part 5: Chicken Wing Choke

Course Synopsis:


An effective sweep, this move is great for maintaining good control of your partner. 


  • Starting in open-guard, underhook a leg of your choice and angle yourself so that you’re perpendicular to your partner’s body. Their foot should be just above your shoulder and your underhook should remain as tight as possible. This way, your partner will be unable to take out their leg and advance their position. 

  • Then, hook your outside foot to the back of your partner’s far knee. With your other foot, hook your partner's far thigh. Your hooks should form an “X.” 

  • Now you are in the X-guard, which is one of my favorite guards because it helps me maintain good control of my partner. Afterward, extend both your legs and come up to the elbow that is not underhooking the leg. As you can see, your partner lost balance, which is a perfect opportunity for you to sweep them. 

  • Then, place your bottom hook on the inside of his thigh, which will help keep your partner from as you’re standing up. Afterward, plant your other foot on the ground and do a technical stand-up. As you do the technical stand-up, make sure your posture is strong, so you keep good control of them. 

  • Then, once you stand up, they are going to be on their hands and on one of their feet. While keeping your grip on the leg, grab the other leg and bring it up off the ground. Your partner will become off-balanced and fall to the ground. Once they fall down, you will be in the top position and able to start passing. 

      A great pressure pass that gets past a frustrating defense known as the knee shield. 

  • When I’m in top position, this is one of my favorite passes because it’s so effective and gets past a frustrating defense known as the knee shield. 

  • First, get to the knee cut position. Grab both of their knees and staple one to the mat. Then, slide your inside knee over his thigh and post out your outside leg.  

  • Generally, when going for the knee cut, your partner will try to prevent the pass by putting in a knee shield. And what I love the most about the crazy dog pass is that it’s effective in getting past this knee shield. 

  • Take your hand from your partner's knee that's on the mat and grab their same side lapel. Then, take your other hand and swim it under their top leg and over their bottom leg, grabbing their pants. 

  •  Bring your head into their stomach and stay on your toes, forming a tripod position. Be sure to have heavy pressure on them while pulling their lapel so you limit their movement. 

Simple, yet effective, the kimura is an excellent option to have from side control.  


  • First, get into the top position in side control. While on top, be sure to maintain shoulder pressure and stay tight so they're unable to hip-escape out. 


  • Take your hand under the armpit and grab your partner’s wrist. Then, pin their wrist to the mat. 

  • Afterward, take out the arm that’s beneath his head. Then, swim your hand under his arm and grab your wrist. 

  • Then, sit up and use your kimura grip to bring your partner up with you. Once you sit up, keep your partner’s elbow glued to your chest and step over the head.  


  • While your partner’s elbow is glued to your chest, rotate your upper body towards the side where their back is faced. Keep rotating until you get the submission. 


  • Being one of my favorite all-time techniques, the giftwrap works almost every time and is a great way to advance your position. 


  • First, get into the top position in side control. While on top, be sure to maintain shoulder pressure and stay tight so your partner is unable to hip-escape out. 

  • From here, you will fake an Americana, which will lead to the giftwrap. To do this, remove your arm that’s under their armpit and grab their wrist. Then pin their wrist to the mat as if you were going to do an Americana. Then, they're going to try and defend the Americana by reaching over to grab their wrist. 

  • Once they grab their wrist, take the hand underneath his head, and grab their top wrist.  
    Then, take your top arm, loop it under his arm, and grab your wrist. 

  • Afterward, bring your knee up to their head and swing your other leg over their body. Then, fall to your other hip and put in both your hooks. Now, you are in the back position and eventually go for a submission. 

This is a great option from the back as it’s both easy and effective 

  • First, you're going to be in the back position. When you're in the back position make sure that your chin is on their shoulder and that you're staying tight on them so that they're unable to escape.  

  • Take the arm that's underneath their armpit and pull out the slack from the lapel. This way, the choke is going to be a lot deeper, and you'll get a faster tap. 

  • Then, take your other arm and grab the lapel that you pulled the slack out of. Try to get this lapel as deep as possible to ensure that you get the choke as tight as possible. 

  • Afterward, take your other hand and swim it behind their neck. As you can see, their arm is up like a chicken wing. 

  • Then push the neck down with one hand and pull on the lapel with the other until you get the submission. 

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