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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

24 February 2016

24/02/2016 - Teaching | Half Guard | Toe Grab Sweep

Teaching #468
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 24/02/2016


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: Not much to add, although I think it is worth mentioning that you may find that as they try to get their leg out of the way, you can then sneak your leg back to full guard. I also don't think I emphasised the leg tweak Scully does enough, as that's helpful for getting the sweep. Finally, scooting the knee out could be highlighted more too.

I need to progress my half guard game. More options needed? Or simplify options? Mainly I want to recover guard, try for the back or toe grab if possible. I tend to get squashed a lot, though the Braulio facepalm is useful. Don't forget about deep half too.

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