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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

07 June 2017

07/06/2017 - Teaching | Open Guard | Tripod Sweep

Teaching #671
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 07/06/2017

You can set up the tripod sweep in lots of ways. I usually teach this from the simple option of hooking behind both their knees, using that to pull yourself in towards them and grab their other leg with your other hand. When you grab for the ankle, you can control it in two main ways. Simply grabbing their heel is the quickest, but that means there is a chance they can kick their foot forwards and dislodge your grip. If you grab the trouser cuff instead, that escape becomes much harder for them, but it does give them more opportunity to turn their foot (i.e., for a knee cut pass).

With the heel grab, a good tip from my instructor Kev Capel is to pull that ankle onto your hip, clamping it there. This should also help with off-balancing them. You can also simply sit on it. Either way, remember to keep your other hook behind their knee tense, as you don't want them to free that leg and step around, because that will enable them to regain their balance. You can also put it lower on the leg, or even right behind their foot, but be careful, as just like the heel grip, that can increase the risk that they'll step out and avoid your control.

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Once you knock them down, because you have that grip on their sleeve, you can pull yourself up as they go back, moving through into side control. It also stops them basing with that hand, as you're sweeping in that direction (which is why you use a cross grip, rather than same side). Should you lose your sleeve grip, the sweep is still there, but it will be harder to sit up and move through to side control.

If you're having trouble knocking them down, angle the direction of your push a little, in the direction you want them to fall. It is important that you react decisively after you've knocked them down. Otherwise, they'll simply get up first, returning to your guard. That would mean you were back where you started.

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As ever, there are a couple of options. My preference is to come up and slide your inside knee over their leg, leaning your body towards them: you may find it useful to keep hold of their foot (which means you are both basing on your hand and maintaining control of their leg) to stop them moving, but you can still pass without doing so. Your other foot will step over their other leg, like a typical knee slide pass. From there, you can grab their sleeve, underhook their far armpit, then slide through into modified scarf hold. If for some reason you get your knee stuck in their gi, which has happened to me in the past, change your grip to their elbow, drop your bodyweight and move into side control. Here's Kev demonstrating the full sweep:

You'll notice the finish is different in that video: instead of the tight knee slide, you can do a sort of technical stand-up which ends up with a looser pass. For the stand-up, after you've knocked them down, put your hooking foot on the floor, bringing your other leg behind you. So, the hand that was grabbing the heel now pushes into their leg, pinning it to the floor and becoming your basing hand. Your other leg becomes your second base point, then you stand up from there. You remaining hand may or may not be gripping their sleeve, but this works either way.

From there, stand up, still holding on to their trouser leg (you could also keep hold of the sleeve, which will enable you to pull on both limbs for the pass, but it makes it harder to stand up), pulling up. That will make it difficult for them to recover, as you move around to a dominant position like side control or knee on belly. Standing up when someone has your foot in the air is hard.

Teaching Notes: I went with a different scenario this time, attempting to tie it into the long range thing of the maintaining open guard class. I'm not sure that was as effective a way to teach it as my usual hook behind the knees. Next time, I should connect that hooking instead during my open guard maintaining, somehow add that to the metaphor? Maybe even start the tripod lesson by talking about my battlefield metaphor, then noting that as well as spears, swords and shields that primarily push, you can use billhooks to pull them off their horse too? Yay for excessively complicated extended metaphors! :P

I also tried to avoid emphasising that you have to grab the sleeve, in favour of saying you just have to get up. I don't want people to rely on the sleeve too much, as you often won't have that because people won't let you. I also should have drilled knee cut, as that's the common pass to follow when you pull yourself up, though I don't want people to think they can only go for that (still good to have an option, though). A few people ended up just flying forwards, which looked as though in sparring they might fly all the way past. In that situation, useful to emphasise knee cut, control, etc. I'll be teaching it as a pass later anyway, as that's my core pass for open guard month.

Breakfalls are important for this class too, given the point of a sweep is to knock people over. I'm fortunate in that I have two judo black belts at the club, so asked one of them to demonstrate as I talked through the motion. Awesomely, Donal popped in tonight as well. Really good to see him, hopefully he'll be able to do that more often. :D

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