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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

11 August 2017

11/08/2017 - Teaching | Half Guard | Toe Grab Sweep (Orthodox Half Guard)

Teaching #695
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 11/08/2017

I call this one 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 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.

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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.

Teaching Notes: I find that I tend to kick my leg as well as bump with the underhook, in order to slip down their body. Is that risky? I'm wondering if a savvy opponent would be able to free their leg at that point. I don't play half guard much these days, so I should try doing this sweep against resistance before I teach it next time, in order to iron out any kinks that might have crept in since I first learned it. The reach did seem to be the main problem people were having, so it's worth focusing on. I rarely have trouble, but that leg kick is something to test more.

Also, it is possible to get this if they have a whizzer, though I'd normally go for the whizzer counter. I could probably talk more about using the face palm to dig your way underneath too, making it easier to grab the toes. I felt like I wanted to have more detail in this lesson, but then again it is a fairly simple technique. So for next time, face palm and think about that leg kick.

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