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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

14 June 2017

14/06/2017 - Teaching | Open Guard | Ankle Pick Sweep

Teaching #674
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 14/06/2017

To start with the video, as is now usual, first I went through the basics of seated guard:

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Then the ankle pick sweep itself:

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Sitting guard is my main open guard position at the moment (typically for jiu jitsu, there are lots of other names, like seated guard, sit-up guard, cross-grip guard, stiff-arm guard etc). To enter into the guard, grab their same side collar while putting your opposite foot on their opposite hip. Open up the collar and switch to your other hand. If you're greedy and start off with the cross-grip, that may leave you vulnerable to getting passed, according to Xande.

You will be sitting on the floor, one knee up, the other down. Keep your head facing slightly up, puff your chest out and make sure your head is in front of your hips. There should be a bend at your waist (but don't curve your upper body, keep it straight). Grab their opposite collar and make a fist, pressing into their clavicle. Keep that arm straight and stay mobile, aiming to keep your knee up and keep them inside that knee. If they get outside and manage to collapse it, that's problematic, but there are things you can do if they step around the knee (which I'll be covering later).

The basic offence from sitting guard is what Xande calls the get-up sweep, which I first learned from Kev as the ankle pick sweep. Though I prefer ankle pick sweep as a name, the good thing about Xande's term is that it emphasises how standing up is a central part of this sweep, rather than simply driving forwards and muscling them over.

This sweep works from several positions. It can be done from butterfly guard, so links up with the butterfly sweep. Whatever the position, you have a grip of their opposite collar, then your other hand is based behind you. Keep that hand where you can't see it. The only time it should be in view, according to Xande, is when you're going for a collar drag and moving around the outside. You can also go to your elbow: if you lean heavily over that, it can make it hard to them to yank your arm back (a common way to break your base in sitting guard).

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From sitting guard, the ankle pick sweep works best when they are moving backwards: that can often happen if they are wary of your grips. It will work if they're on their knees too, when you can follow them up into a sort of combat base position. Either way, get hold of their heel/ankle ((hence the sweep name, which Xande also calls the 'get up' sweep), or potentially the material of their trouser leg (that works better from butterfly guard). Stand up, using your collar grip to direct them to the mat as you pull back on their leg.

Xande emphasises that the leverage doesn't come from trying to muscle them to the ground. It comes from the action of standing up. So, concentrate on getting the grips and then standing, rather than getting the grips and driving forward before you've stood up. Xande also notes that you want to be careful of your momentum, as it's easy to fall forwards if you aren't careful of posture (his analogy is that if you were running and suddenly came across a cliff, you'd lean back to avoid tumbling over the edge). Lean back slightly instead as you knock them down, getting into a secure guard passing crouch, then do a knee cut. Your knee should already be forward and in place, making this straightforward. Not that you have to do a knee cut, any other pass is fine too, but knee cut is probably the easiest.

Teaching Notes: I asked the Artemis BJJ judo instructor Federico to do breakfalls in the warm up, important due to the nature of this sweep. That's something I want to do more often on Wednesdays, use Marcus and/or Federico (our two resident judo black belts) to help check everyone is doing it right. I'll add it to the warm up every Wednesday.

In terms of things to emphasise next time, it's the usual. Don't drive forward too much, halt momentum, cliff edge analogy. I didn't talk so much about other leg, people didn't have problem reaching, but it would still be worth keeping in mind. Another thing to keep in mind is the proper ankle pick itself, as a wrestling takedown. For that, there is a great video you can watch:

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