For every guard player, being able to sweep or reverse an opponent is almost as satisfying as knocking down his or her opponent in the MMA cage. A sweep allows a guard player to improve his position by sweeping his opponent over and stabilizing himself in a much more dominant position. In fact, a simple sweep could turn everything around in an instant. Like all BJJ techniques, sweeps are continuously evolving, with new variations being created alongside new guards. In fact, some sweeps have yet to be named!
If you want to work on your sweeps, you’re in luck! Today, Evolve Daily shares 6 concepts to help you sweep your opponent every single time:
1) Break your opponent’s posture
Breaking your opponent’s posture will make it very difficult for him to pass your guard. Doing so will give you the leverage you need to tip him forward or to the side in order for you to sweep him. Depending on the guard that you use, there are many different ways to break your opponent’s posture.
In this video, Mundials Silver Medalist and ONE Superstar Almiro Barros shows several sweeps from the spider guard. To break his opponent’s posture in the spider guard, Almiro uses his grips to pull on the sleeves and places his feet on his opponent’s biceps.
2) Don’t stop attacking
As we mentioned in our article about the 6 secrets to an impassable guard, a guard player must always be on the offensive. If one sweep doesn’t work, you will need to switch to another sweep or even another guard. If you’re up against a skilled opponent, the likelihood of your first attack not working is very high.
One of the best guard players, Leandro Lo, is known for his exceptional spider and Dela Riva guard. In the video above, watch how Leandro Lo switches from one guard to another, based on his opponent’s reactions.
3) Use different angles
When you sweep your opponent, you must do so using a variety of angles. You must follow your opponent’s movements to gauge which angle will give you the most leverage to sweep your opponent. Positioning your feet, hip and torso at the perfect angle will certainly help you off-balance your opponent for the sweep.
In this video, 2x BJJ World Champion Teco Shinzato shows different options for sweeps from the Dela Riva guard. Watch how he positions himself to help him finish the sweep.
4) Controlling your opponent’s wrist and arm/arms
You must be able to control your opponent’s wrist and arm (or arms, if you can) in order to sweep him. With a free arm or hand, your opponent can base out and post, which could prevent you from finishing your sweep. However, you must control the wrist and arm of the side you are sweeping to, in order to successfully finish the move.
In this video, BJJ World Champion and ONE Superstar Alex Silva shows us some sweeps from the x-guard. Take note of how Alex constantly controls his opponent using a strong grip on his opponent’s arm, as well as on his belt and collar, depending on the sweep.
5) Use the power in your hips and torso
In all martial arts, your biggest source of power is in your hips and torso, or, to be more technical, your posterior chain. Many BJJ beginner students often rely on arm strength to sweep their opponents, using the weakest part of their bodies instead of the strongest. Move your hips in the correct direction and use the power in your posterior chain to sweep your opponent.
In this video, watch how 2x BJJ World Champion Teco Shinzato uses his the power in his posterior chain to create leverage by extending his legs to create a better lever. This makes his opponent’s lower body lighter, enabling him to finish the sweep.
6) Use weight and momentum
To effectively execute a sweep, you must use both momentum and weight against your opponent. When he tries to pass your guard for example, he will usually put all his weight in the direction he wants to pass and allow himself to fall. This is when you deny him the means to control his fall using grips and nudge him into an effortless sweep. Another way to sweep involves disrupting your opponent’s balance to solicit a reaction. When he counters by shifting his weight, you use the momentum to sweep him in that direction instead. The trick is making your opponent commit more of his weight than necessary and being a step ahead with the right grips and leverage points.
In this video, watch how Mundials Silver Medalist Thiago “Guli” Kozama uses weight and momentum to sweep his opponent with the hip bump sweep from the closed guard and sweep from half guard. When his opponent postures up and resists his submission attempt, Guli uses this action to sweep him onto his back. The second sweep from the half guard requires a reaction from your opponent. Guli sets up the basic half guard sweep and uses the momentum from his opponent’s reaction to finish the move.
Remember, if you want to make these sweeps part of your game, drilling is essential! If you find any sweeps difficult to execute, do not hesitate to ask your instructor for help!
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