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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

08 January 2015

08/01/2015 - Teaching | Open Guard | Sickle Sweep

Teaching #258
Artemis BJJ (PHNX Fitness), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 08/01/2015

The tripod sweep I always teach the previous lesson combines well with the similar sickle sweep: as always in BJJ, that almost certainly has other names (the most common alternative is 'hook sweep'), but I'm using the term from Theory & Technique (page 226). A good time to try this is if when you attempt the tripod sweep, they kick their leg free from your hooking hand. You could attempt to readjust to recover your position, but it is probably easier to pull yourself towards their other leg with your hooking foot, grabbing the heel on that side. Turn your body toward that newly grabbed leg, swinging your pushing foot over to that hip. With what used to be your hooking foot, chop back low on their other leg to knock them over.

Of course, the sickle works on its own too. Indeed, Rener teaches this before the tripod on Gracie University. The entry he shows is to hook their leg, pulling yourself in to grab their ankle, then switching into the sickle position: opposite foot on the ankle-grabbed side hip, then chopping low on their other leg with your remaining leg, using your calf or possibly your heel.

In order to get the angle, you'll have to turn towards them (or like Rener shows, hook their leg to pull yourself in. If you're going from the tripod, you'll already have their leg hooked). Note that when you follow them up after knocking them to their back, compared to the tripod sweep, your other knee will be raised. That means you'll need to make sure to shove their leg down and step over, enabling you to complete your knee slide. Remember, there is also the other option of trying the technical stand up instead.

While grabbing the heel is a perfectly viable grip, it is probably better suited to the tripod, as then you can use Kev's trick of jamming the heel against your hip. With the sickle your body is turned, so that's not easy to do. I'd therefore recommend grabbing the trouser leg for the sickle. That's because it means that once you've knocked them over, you can pin their leg to the mat while also pushing it away. That stops them from closed their guard. This is important, because the sickle sweep will end up with you with one leg in betweens theirs. Wait as long as possible to let go of the trouser grip: ideally, you want to wait until you've slid your leg out.
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Teaching & Sparring Notes: I repeatedly emphasised grabbing the trouser leg and keeping hold of it, as that's the part people were forgetting most often. Progressive resistance is good for highlighting that, as I encourage the drilling parter to trap the leg if the person sweeping doesn't keep that grip long enough. Positive reinforcement? Negative? Can't remember the right word. :)

I did remember to put in the knee cut drill this time, a good idea I think. I also did the hip thrust drill, but decided against the knee collapse part, as I'm wondering if that might be confusing people. Better to have a clear focus, so they know the key bit is thrusting those hips forward.

I was really pleased to finally get in some sparring, although I was also nervous as I haven't really done it (except with Chris, Tracey and her son) for a while now due to the injury. Passing was ok, though I might have been slightly too exuberant for the injury. As ever I went with the bullfighter, pinning their legs then dropping my shoulder. It's a good pass, but it does take a fair bit of energy.

On the bottom, that was the first time I've really had a chance to test the Ryan Hall/Kev style stiff arm seated guard, outside of those drilling sessions with Chris. It worked well, both in terms of the original purpose - giving my leg a rest - and preventing passes. With the first student, I wasn't able to get the ankle pick or loop choke, but to my surprise got a spider scissor sweep. It seemed to come easier than normal, perhaps because they were driving forward more to attack the stiff arm? Or they might just have been going light, because of my injury.

The second spar was less active, as I mainly just held him at bay. However, that's still a plus, as the second student is a big, powerful guy. If I'm able to hold them off - even if they were quite possibly going lighter than normal - then that's a positive outcome too. I need to think about setting up the loop choke better, as well as my grip.

I like this guard, but it does depend on that grip on the collar. I don't want to rely on strong grips, as my grip strength will fade as I get older, I'd have thought, along with any other physical attributes. Then again, I am quite possibly gripping too hard, rather than the grip itself being a bad long term idea (in terms of fading attributes).

It's Polaris tomorrow! I'm planning to watch it via live stream with a few of the students, but we're still deciding exactly where. Hopefully somebody has a big TV and a decent internet connection (I would use mine, but my internet connection has a very annoying habit of dropping out at odd moments. Not good for a live competition! ;D). I should get a chance to chat more to Dean and Steve about it tomorrow at open mat, given they were both interested.

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