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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

09 February 2015

09/02/2015 - Teaching | Half Guard | Toe Grab Sweep (Old School)

Teaching #275
Artemis BJJ (MyGym/Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 09/02/2015

Continuing with our month of half guard, I progressed to sweeps from half guard. This week it will be the toe grab and the whizzer counter roll. To kick off with the toe grab, after recovering closed guard and taking the back this is probably the most fundamental offensive option from under half guard.

I call it the toe grab sweep, like Indrek Reiland does in his classic 'Functional Half Guard' video. Eddie Bravo's name for it - 'old school' - is common too, but his version is slightly less effective in my opinion, though it is similar. I was mainly following the way Jason Scully teaches it, over on the Grapplers Guide. I've also been taught it in the past, back when I was training at RGA High Wycombe with Kev.

So, the Scully version begins from the basic half guard position I taught earlier, where you're on your side using the kickstand leg positioning, with an underhook. Use your underhook to bump yourself down closer to their legs, curling your head into towards their far knee. With your non-underhooking arm, reach for their far toes. Grab them and then shove their heel into their thigh. Make sure you are grabbing their toes: if you grip their ankle or higher, they will find it easier to kick their leg back and scupper your sweep.

Bring your underhook arm down past their bum, then switch the toe grab grip from your non-underhook hand to your underhook hand. Bring your non-underhook elbow and then hand out for base, also turning to slide out your inside leg. Your outside leg tweaks their lower leg to further disrupt their base, then drive with your head and shoulder to move on top. Keep hold of the toes until you're past to side control. If they stay on their hands and knees, you can also just take their back instead.

Keep in mind that it is possible to get this sweep with various leg configurations. Eddie Bravo does it from the lockdown, 'whipping up' to get on his side after being flat on his back (interestingly, he doesn't switch his grip on the toes, leaving the underhook in place all the way through). My preference is to use the kickstand, as I find that provides the best base for getting on your side, but it's certainly not the only option.
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Teaching Notes: Another straightforward lesson. The main thing I need to do is decide on useful follow-ups. Watching EstimaInAction (which I'm reviewing over February), Braulio moves into deep half guard after trying for this. That is an option, but probably too complicated for the class at the moment, given it is mostly white belts. I'll have a think, perhaps there is a way to teach deep half that breaks it down into simpler elements, spread out across a few drills.

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