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

25 February 2017

25/02/2017 - RGA Bucks | Standing Guard Sweeps

Class #806
RGA Aylesbury, (BJJ), Dan Lewis, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, UK - 25/02/2017

Dan took us on a trip down memory lane today, specifically the book Royler, Renzo and Danaher put out almost twenty years ago. That book was a warm-up for Danaher and Renzo's seminar Mastering Jujitsu, with a similar history section. It was called Jiu-Jitsu: Theory & Technique. The layout was haphazard, but including a sequence of three closely related techniques for when an opponent stands up in your closed guard: the ankle grab sweep, handstand and star sweep.

For the first one, as they stand up, if you've got a grip on their collar or head, maintain it in order to keep their posture bent forwards. At the moment you let go of that grip (if you have one) and they try to reach an upright position, grab behind their ankles (around the outside: if you grab around the inside, there's an injury risk).

Open your guard (when they stand, they are looking to open it and pass. It's better if when you open your guard, it's on your terms rather than theirs). Usually when I've seen this taught, the idea is to bring your knees together under their chest. You can also put your feet on their hips, depending on their height and how much leverage you need. Either way, drive those feet or knees into them. That should knock them over if they aren't prepared for the sweep. One advantage of the knees is you can keep squeezing your legs into their sides, which can help you use their momentum as they fall back (but be careful you don't get your feet under them too much, or you might hurt yourself as you hit the floor). Dan did it a little differently, as he focused instead on pushing with the back of your legs against their thighs.

After they've hit the mat, before they can react, come up on your hand and same side knee. Bring your hips forward on that same side. It's much easier if you move in a diagonal direction, rather than trying to go straight forward. Slide your knee on that side to the mat, keeping your hips low, also grabbing behind their head (or collar). From there, you could go to mount, s-mount, side control etc. It is an awkward position, so takes a bit of getting used to. I used a hip thrust drill during the warm-up to help: you can do a technical stand-up from here too if you find that easier, keeping hold of their leg and passing around to the side.

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. Dan's option was to bring the hip right onto the knee to push it from facing forwards to face sideways instead, which worked well (at least on one side, I had real trouble doing it on the other side). 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.

Dan finished with an old school final option, the star sweep. This is one I used to try all the time nine years or so ago, but have fallen out of the habit. From the handstand sweep, kick your leg so that you swivel around the leg you're hooking with your arm. Stay close, kneeling next to that leg, facing parallel, head low. Lean back to knock them to the ground. You need to be careful you aren't too explosive with this one, in order to avoid tweaking their knee. I was ending up too turned a few times, meaning that I ended up in a poor position once (if) they fell down.

The last one is an omoplata, from that handstand sweep position. You have the cross-grip on their sleeve, pass that to the hand you have around their leg. Grab their collar and pull them down with your now free hand. Turn your hips out and bring your leg over their head, like you're clamping for an armbar. Knock them down, then you can transition into an omoplata. Dan doesn't triangle his legs, as that can give them a footlock: instead, he just squeezes his knees together.

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