This article originally appeared on Evolve Vacation.
Sweeps are a fundamental part of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. While many consider sweeps to be an ‘escape’ from a dangerous position, they are equally regarded as attacking maneuvers that assist in advancing to a more dominant position.
Listing every type of sweep imaginable is virtually impossible, so we’ll group efficient techniques together from the applicable positions.
In particular, we will cover sweeps from full guard, half guard, x-guard, and butterfly guard – but it is also important to become familiar with sweeps from De La Riva guard, lasso guard, and open guard, for example.
Today, Evolve Vacation brings you 4 sweeps you need in your BJJ arsenal.
Full Guard Sweeps
The Hip Bump Sweep (or Sit-Up Sweep) is likely to be one of the very first sweeps that you learn from your instructor.
In saying this, don’t think that the value of this sweep diminishes against higher-ranked opponents, or as you advance your abilities in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In fact, the sweep becomes increasingly important as you further your expertise and become more proficient with set-ups and submissions.
An important ‘ingredient’ of this sweep recipe is that it is most effective when your opponent is sitting back on their heels and not applying pressure with their hands and arms. Of course, the trick is to make them sit back on their heels by instead thinking that you want to break their posture and drag them down.
Unlike many techniques in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the Hip Bump Sweep needs to be relatively explosive. The objective is to lift your hips up and cross your body over to the other side of your opponent’s. Simply posture up slightly to one side – using your elbow – before launching forward and trapping the opposite arm of your opponent. While sitting up and moving toward your opponent, lift your hips high while also focusing on blocking the opposite arm from forming a base.
When executed correctly, the Hip Bump Sweep allows you to move from full guard to full mount, with little effort.
Butterfly Guard Sweeps
If you’re a smooth operator from butterfly guard, you’re going to love the Jean-Jacques Sweep.
Of course, butterfly guard means nothing without proper upper body control – so this sweep begins with establishing proper control and positioning.
Firstly, the overhook is a fundamental aspect of this Jean-Jacques Sweep. Not only does it help to break the posture of your opponent, but it removes their ability to use their arm to base out. With the Gi (as Eddie Bravo explains in the above video), you can also use the overhook hand to latch onto the collar of your opponent.
With the opposite hand, you should be looking to control your opponent with a clinch behind their head and neck, or digging a deep underhook. Next, when beginning the sweeping motion, slide the hand down to trap the tricep and gain better control of your opponent. From here, you can begin falling to the side away from the overhook and use your butterfly hook to lift your opponent and execute the sweeping motion.
While this sweep will work sometimes, on the times that it doesn’t, you can immediately trap the arm that they used to base out and swap back and sweep to the alternate side.
While the majority of x-guard sweeps look complicated to execute, they are often just as difficult for an opponent to effectively defend against.
In particular, great use of x-guard sweeps will test your opponent’s balance – if they are not experienced in the position or lack the required balance, they will ultimately fall to your x-guard sweep.
Today, we will cover the details of the x-guard to single leg takedown sweep.
The first note to remember regarding this sweep is the sense of pressure with your feet and body. You should be pushing away with the ‘X’ that is formed on your opponent’s far leg, while also maintaining a secure grip on your opponent’s near leg and foot. By placing this near foot and leg above (or near) your shoulder, you are instantly forcing them to balance on their far leg – which is a difficult task when you are applying pressure to test their balance!
With this grip, as shown in the video above, you can retract one leg and come into a standing position while maintaining a secure grip on your opponent’s leg. From here, you force them to base and land on the mat; from here you can look to pass in a multitude of ways.
Half Guard Sweeps
The best thing about sweeps from half guard is that there are many slight variations to work with.
In the video above, Alex Silva shows different types of sweeps that are available from half guard.
One of the most popular sweeps from half guard is using the position to work toward the ‘dogfight’ position, which Alex shows in sweep #2. While ‘dogfight’ might be a 50/50 position at times, it is still better than being trapped in half guard and is especially great if you have a great ‘dogfight’ game.
Alex begins sweep #2 with clear intention to dig for a deep underhook. With a gi, you can grab the belt on the far side and keep that underhook nice and tight. The underhook will also help you posture into your opponent. Next, unwrap your outside leg and entangle your opponent’s leg before removing your inside foot and leg. This simple move helps ensure that the newly placed foot keeps your opponent’s leg pinned to the mat while you freely posture up. From ‘dogfight’, you can finish the sweep by switching your hand across to the opponent’s far knee and dragging it toward you – removing their base – while also applying heavy head pressure to either their chest or head. The sweeping motion occurs with their legs coming toward you, while your head forces the upper body away.