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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

07 July 2014

07/07/2014 - Teaching | Open Guard | Tripod Sweep

Teaching #164
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 07/07/2014

We've covered maintaining open guard, so next I wanted to add in two basic, high percentage sweeps. They are each known by a whole variety of different names: I'll use the terms I'm familiar with. They also both start from the same position, which is apparently known as 'cross-guard'. As with the previous lesson, this owes a lot to Kev Capel, who taught several excellent classes at RGA Bucks on the topic I'm about to cover.

For the tripod sweep, you can set it up in lots of ways. I went for the simple option of hooking their leg, using that to pull yourself in towards them and grab their other leg with your other hand. When you grab for the ankle, you can control it in two main ways. Simply grabbing their heel is the quickest, but that means there is a chance the can kick their foot forwards and dislodge your grip. If you grab the trouser cuff instead, that escape becomes much harder for them.

With the heel grab, a good tip from Kev is to pull that ankle onto your hip, clamping it there. This should also help with off-balancing them. You can also simply sit on it. Either way, remember to keep your other hook behind their knee tense, as you don't want them to free that leg and step around, because that will enable them to regain their balance. You can also put it lower on the leg, or even right behind their foot, but be careful, as just like the heel grip, that can increase the risk that they'll step out and avoid your control.

Once you knock them down, because you have that grip on their sleeve, you can pull yourself up as they go back, moving through into side control. It also stops them basing with that hand, as you're sweeping in that direction (which is why you use a cross grip, rather than same side). Should you lose your sleeve grip, the sweep is still there, but it will be harder to sit up and move through to side control.

If you're having trouble knocking them down, angle the direction of your push a little, in the direction you want them to fall. It is important that you react decisively after you've knocked them down. Otherwise, they'll simply get up first, returning to your guard. That would mean you were back where you started.

As ever, there are a couple of options. My preference is to come up and slide your inside knee over their leg, leaning your body towards them: you may find it useful to keep hold of their foot (which means you are both basing on your hand and maintaining control of their leg) to stop them moving, but you can still pass without doing so. Your other foot will step over their other leg, like a typical knee slide pass. From there, you can grab their sleeve, underhook their far armpit, them slide through into modified scarf hold. If for some reason you get your knee stuck in their gi, which has happened to me in the past, change your grip to their elbow, drop your bodyweight and move into side control. Here's my instructor at RGA Bucks, Kev Capel, demonstrating the full sweep:

You'll notice the finish is different in that video: instead of the tight knee slide, you can do a sort of technical stand-up which ends up with a looser pass. This is the option I went with tonight, as I thought that might be easier, but both options are equally good. For the stand-up, after you've knocked them down, put your hooking foot on the floor, bringing your other leg behind you.

From there, stand up, still holding on to their trouser leg (you could also keep hold of the sleeve, which will enable you to pull on both limbs for the pass, but it makes it harder to stand up), pulling up. That will make it difficult for them to recover, as you move around to a dominant position like side control or knee on belly. Standing up when someone has your foot in the air is hard.

Teaching Notes: I went with the technical stand-up option tonight, but I think next time, I'll go with the knee cut option. It seems that people had an easier time understanding that one than the technical stand up. I should also explain it more carefully, along with the drill. So, the hand that was grabbing the heel now pushes into their leg, pinning it to the floor and becoming your basing hand. Your other leg becomes your second base point, then you stand up from there. You remaining hand may or may not be gripping their sleeve, but this works either way.

Next time I'll also add in a drill to help people get used to thrusting their hips forward, as that's useful for the knee cut option. You start sat on the floor, one leg curled in front, the other foot out forwards. Raise yourself up with the curled foot, then thrust your hips forward. As you sink back down, switch your legs and repeat the motion for the opposite side.

I also put in that drill from the weekend, where you spin around to guard. It's possibly a bit complex, but a fun one to try. Bring your outside leg over, putting your shin on their near side thigh. That leg is going to stay in place for the rest of the drill.

With your nearest hand, reach to their far leg: you can either hook behind or grab the trouser leg. Raise your hips and swivel, using your shin on their thigh as the pivot point. Keep spinning until you return to a guard position in front of them. You'll probably need to pull yourself across a little with that gripping/hooking hand.

There were a bunch of extra things I could have put in here from the last time I taught it. I might add them in next time, so I'll leave them in this bit for the moment -

Saulo shows the tripod sweep a little differently in his excellent book, Jiu Jitsu University. On page 163, you can see that he starts from the foot in bicep open guard I'm fond of myself. I notice that in the picture, there is also a variation in gripping that ankle: Xande is holding the front of the bottom trouser leg, rather than the back. On Xande's DVD, he also uses a different grip for the tripod, grabbing high on their collar rather than controlling the arm. If you can get it, this has the advantage of breaking their posture even more than the sleeve grip.

[...] the easiest way to start off is probably grabbing their sleeve with both hands, pulling it in tight, locking your elbows to your sides. Put your feet on your hips to control the distance. You are looking to now block off one side, so put your foot on their hip and grab their same side ankle. This should leave you gripping their sleeve with your opposite hand. On that opposite side, hook behind their knee. From here, you're going to push with your hip foot, pull with your knee foot and block with your foot hand. That should knock them over, meaning you can come on top.

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