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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

05 August 2015

05/08/2015 - Teaching | Half Guard | Toe Grab Sweep

Teaching #368
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 05/08/2015


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'll be teaching that one later). I prefer 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. I find it easiest from the kickstand, as I think that provides the best base for getting on your side, but it's certainly not the only option.
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Teaching & Sparring Notes: Along with the basic maintenance class, this is the one I'm most familiar teaching from half guard, so it went fairly smoothly. The main things to emphasise are reaching your same side arm under their leg to grab the toes, getting low enough to reach in the first place (so, curling towards the knee with your body), along with keeping hold of their toes until you've moved around to side control.

In sparring, I wanted to play with the four gi lapel attacks I saw on The Grapplers Guide. I started off with two tonight, the gi wrap americana and lapel cross choke. However, I didn't get a chance to use them, as I was mostly underneath looking for deep half. That needs work too, so it was also helpful to practice. I ended up on the 'wrong' side at one point, but still got a sweep: I'm not sure if that is a credible technique, or if it was just a result of a white belt losing their balance. But meh, I'll keep on exploring deep half and see what happens. :)

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