4 Sweeps Every White Belt Needs To Master In BJJ

When you first start training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), learning submissions might seem like the most exciting part of your lessons. But the more lessons you attend, you realize that there are other concepts that you need to master in order to get to the fun stuff. One of these concepts is learning how to sweep your opponent. Although it might not sound like much, sweeps are what make Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so special. It is what empowers the lightest, smallest practitioner to gain dominance over a stronger opponent, using angles that give him or her the most leverage.  

As you progress in your BJJ journey, you’ll find that being able to execute a sweep is almost as satisfying as landing a submission!  

What Is A Sweep?

A sweep is what allows a guard player to improve his or her position by using leverage – finding the right angle to apply the right amount of pressure in the right position to off balance his or her opponent and transition to a more dominant position. A perfectly timed sweep could turn everything around in an instant!

Today, Evolve Daily shares 4 Sweeps Every White Belt Needs To Master:  


1) Scissor Sweep

The scissor sweep is probably one of the first sweeps you’ll learn in BJJ. It starts in the basic closed guard and requires good timing.

In this video, BJJ World Champion Teco Shinzato demonstrates how to execute the scissor sweep. Using the collar grip to off balance his opponent and bring him closer, Teco opens his guard and pulls his knee to a 90-degree angle across his opponent’s chest. He plants his left leg on the mat, and in a single motion, pushes out on the angled leg and uses the momentum to flip his opponent to the side. This sweep needs to be done quickly because it leaves you in a vulnerable position.


2) Hip Bump Sweep

Ask any BJJ practitioner who’s been training for a while and they’ll tell you that the hip bump sweep is still one of the most effective sweeps out there. It’s most effective when your opponent is sitting back on his heels in your guard. If you have a good closed guard, you can use this sweep when you feel like your opponent isn’t applying enough pressure with his or her hands and arms.

In this video, BJJ World Champion Leandro Issa demonstrates the hip bump sweep to a triangle choke. Although he performs the sweep with his opponent standing, you can also do it with your opponent in a seated position. As you lift your hips up, your body moves to one side while you use your elbow to prop yourself up. You then launch forward and trap your opponent’s opposite arm. You will need to lift your hips high and do this sweep explosively to make it work. If successful, you can transition to a submission like the kimura or triangle, just like the video.


3) Half Guard Sweep

Most beginners land in the half guard out of reflex, which is why the half guard game is great for white belts. The maintenance doesn’t require as much athleticism and timing as other open guards. Half guard sweep is, therefore, an indispensable part of any BJJ player’s guard game.

In this video, BJJ World Champion Alex Silva demonstrates five basic half guard sweeps, the most basic being the second sweep. It starts with underhook, and then you find yourself getting up to finish what looks like a double leg or single leg takedown. It’s basic but still one of the most effective sweeps, not only as a sweep itself but also as a reflex. In many scrambles, you will find yourself in a similar situation, and if you’ve practiced it enough, you will unconsciously apply it and land in a more favorable position. Don’t forget to keep that underhook tight!  


4) Butterfly Sweep

If you’ve ever come across the name Marcelo Garcia, then you’ve probably seen a butterfly sweep in action against some of the best BJJ practitioners in the world. Nowadays, we’re seeing a resurgence in the butterfly sweep due to the numerous leg locking entries that it leads to.

In this video, butterfly guard expert and multiple-time BJJ World Champion Marcelo Garcia demonstrates the butterfly sweep from the open guard. When you do the butterfly sweep, you need to get in the right angle and just the right distance from his hips. Lift and off balance your opponent using your hook and take away his posting hand to execute the sweep.  


When you sweep your opponent, quickly transition to top position or else you will be left in the lurch. If you can, follow with a submission! The best way to practice your sweeps is to drill with a partner before and after class. Try it out when you spar and if you don’t succeed, track back and see if you’ve missed some steps.

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