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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

29 June 2015

29/06/2015 - Teaching | Closed Guard | Handstand Sweep

Teaching #346
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 29/06/2015



A good follow up to the double ankle grab sweep is another option that works off wrapping an ankle. This one is normally known as the 'handstand sweep', though invariably there are lots of other names for it. As your partner stands in your closed guard, keep your guard closed, wrapping an arm around their same side ankle. You're looking to get the crook of your elbow behind their ankle: for further control, you could try reaching through to grab your own collar. For power, range and balance, put your free hand on the floor, as if you were doing a handstand (hence the name).

To complete the sweep, you need to bring their knee out sideways. Their foot has to be immobilised for that, or they'll be able to adjust and maintain their balance. To turn their knee out, bring your hips sideways, pushing into the inside of their knee (don't go above the knee, you need to stay either next to it or underneath). Once you've pushed it far enough so their leg swivels, that should knock them to the floor. Your guard stays closed throughout, opening at the last moment to adjust into mount.

However, that still leaves them a hand with which they can post out and recover. To prevent that, you can cross-grip their sleeve. This is what Xande calls the 'muscle sweep', because their ankle is by your 'muscle' (i.e., bicep). The set up is the same as before, but this time, you don't use your free hand to push off the floor. Instead, you grab their opposite sleeve, thereby both preventing them from posting out, and also providing you with an easy way of pulling yourself up into mount.

The difficulty is the decreased leverage at your disposal. Now that you can't use that hand to push up, you instead have to really push into their knee. Make sure your grip around their leg is tight, pulling their foot right up to your shoulder. You will also use your grip on their sleeve, pulling their arm to help you. This is tougher to pull off than the handstand, but it makes the transition to the top much easier.

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Teaching Notes: Next time, I'll emphasise getting your shoulder to their heel. It's also worth highlighting hip position relative to their knee, as that needs to be next to their knee, not above. If the opponent is taller, then you'll have to open your guard, but keep your legs tight. Then again, perhaps this isn't the best sweep if your opponent is taller? Something for me to think about.

In sparring, I continued for going for the deep collar grip and then getting the underhook, to create a sort of 'collar clamp' alternative to the shoulder clamp. Jason Scully mentioned something I want to try next time on the Grapplers Guide, which is reaching across with the underhooking arm to grab their far collar. I hadn't considered doing that to lock in the position, but then it works for the overhook guard. Like the overhook guard, it also sets up a choke.

I think the big difference today was remembering to walk my legs up their back, as Chris advise. They are managing to stand sometimes now, but I'm turn finding myself going for armbars. It would be good to teach that standing armbar during open guard month (maybe it would apply to closed guard month too). I don't go for submissions from open guard much, just the loop choke and I'm not very good at it yet.

In especially cool news, tonight was the best turnout ever for an Artemis BJJ, with 18 people on the mats. Even better, four of them were women, so that's almost a quarter of the class! I'm really pleased not only how the club is growing, but that the female membership is continue to move towards that 50/50 gender split goal. Right now, women make up nearly a third of the total membership. :D

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