Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an extremely versatile sport. It allows someone getting smashed from the bottom to reverse the tides by sweeping the opponent onto their back. BJJ sweeps are one of the fundamentals in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. While it is often times considered as a defensive move to escape a bad position, sometimes people actually prefer it! A sweep can actually be considered as an attack from the bottom guard player. A BJJ Sweep from guard is a series of movements that allows the bottom player to use momentum and leverage to flip their opponent to their back.
There’s just something very rewarding about being able to topple even the biggest opponent in the room! If you are a beginner in the sport, there are a few key sweep maneuvers you should learn. In this guide, we take a look at five basic BJJ sweeps from guard every white belt should learn.
Performing BJJ Sweeps from Guard
Before we get into it, its important to first understand the fundamentals for a BJJ Sweep. A sweep is performed by some type of guard position: closed guard, half guard, or some type of open guard (De La Riva, Spider Guard, X-Guard, etc.)
There are a ton of sweeps available in BJJ. Naming all of them would be near impossible! As the game continues to evolve and grow, more and more moves pop up. But one thing to note is that all sweeps are very similar in nature.
Sweeps involve trapping a limb and using hip movements to catch the opponent off balance. These series of movements will allow you to use momentum to topple your opponent over to reverse the position.
As a beginner in the sport, it’s important to learn some of the basic BJJ Sweeps from guard. Most other sweeps stem from the basics, so the better you get at them now, the better you will become when you learn more advanced techniques later on!
5 Basic BJJ Sweeps from Guard
In your first few sessions, the more likely position you will be learning will be the closed guard. This position is the most fundamental position in BJJ. And for good reason – it’s safe and super effective!
The closed guard is definitely a favorite for white belts just starting out. But don’t let that fool you, the closed guard can be used even at the highest levels of competition.
Even high-level black belt competitors like Roger Gracie and the Ribeiro brothers use the closed guard to beat even the most elite fighters!
The closed guard can be considered as the most dominant position from the bottom. You can easily control your opponent’s movement and posture with the closed guard. And the great thing about it is that you can easily switch from defense to offense.
With the closed guard, you have two options of attack: you can submit your opponent from the closed guard or sweep your opponent.
Here are 5 Basic BJJ sweeps from guard that every white belt should learn.
The Lumberjack Sweep
The lumberjack sweep is one of the instant classic BJJ sweeps you should first learn. The sweep is setup from the closed guard position.
One of the most common methods of getting out of the closed guard is to stand up. With the opponent standing straight up, it will be difficult to keep your ankles interlocked. It’s only a matter of time until your legs tire out and you lose the closed guard.
However, if your opponent somehow makes the mistake of not trapping one of your arms as they stand up, it’s lumberjack sweep time!
Once your opponent stands straight up, use your hands to grab both of their ankles. Afterwards, you simply uncross your ankles and push on your opponent’s mid-section with your knees.
Since you have both ankles trapped, they got nowhere to go but crash straight down!
To finish the sweep, once the opponent is down, let go of one of the ankles and use that free arm to pop yourself up to get the mount position.
The Hip Bump Sweep
The Hip Bump Sweep is one of the most basic BJJ sweeps from guard you will learn. It involves trapping one of your opponent’s arms and using momentum, exploding with your hips to topple your opponent over.
From the closed guard position, the likely reaction for your opponent is to put their arms right on top at the center of your body to keep their posture up.
The first thing you are going to need to do is to get their arms off your body. Use your arms to pop their arms off you and get them to post their hands on the mat, on each side of your body.
Once the arms are off you, uncross your ankles and use one of your free arms to elevate your body.
Your goal is to get your hips elevated to about the chest level of the opponent. Once you get there, twist your body off to the side to start grabbing for the opposite arm. Cup their elbow and thrust your hips explosively in that direction.
The rotation and momentum you create will get the opponent off balance and fall on their back, landing you right to the full mount!
The Scissor Sweep
The Scissor Sweep is one of the very first sweeps you will learn as a white belt in BJJ. But it is also one of the sweeps that never seem to work! For that reason, most abandon this sweep altogether. However, the scissor sweep is one of the most powerful BJJ sweeps from guard if used correctly.
The Scissor Sweep is a sweep from the closed guard position that involves grabbing hold of an opponent’s collar and sleeve. From the closed guard, grab hold of your opponent’s cross collar (the deeper in the collar, the better). With your other hand grab the same side sleeve.
Once you have your grips secured, unlock your closed guard, and place your knee across your opponent’s chest. Next, pull your opponent’s sleeve straight back towards you, like you are checking on your wristwatch.
Your pulling motion toward your body will get your opponent to lose balance.
With your free leg, place it by their knee – this will act as a fulcrum for when you go for the sweep. At the same time, you will be scissoring your legs, pushing the opponent’s body off to the side towards that fulcrum point. This rotation will cause them crashing down on to their side.
The Flower Sweep
The Flower Sweep, also known as the Pendulum Sweep, is a closed guard sweep that utilizes heavy hip rotation to complete the sweep. The idea is to trap one arm and rotating the opponent towards that trapped arm. This way they have no way to post that arm to prevent them from rolling over.
Starting from the closed guard, as your opponent starts to posture up, grab onto the same side sleeve to isolate the arm. Next, twist your upper torso toward the other leg, and grab hold of the pants grip (or if you can, hook the entire leg with your arm).
After establishing grips, you can now start the pendulum sweep. Start off by swinging the same side leg where the arm is trapped as far as you can. Kick that leg up and over toward your head gain a starting momentum.
To complete the sweep, explosively kick that leg towards the mat, your other leg will chop against the body, forcefully rolling your opponent over. If you use enough momentum, you should land right on top!
The Elevator Hook Sweep
The Elevator Hook Sweep is one of the most basic BJJ sweeps from guard you will probably learn as a white belt. It works really well, especially against beginners!
Start off at the closed guard position and break your opponent’s posture. You can do this by forcefully removing their hands off your mid-section and pulling them down hard on their collar until their body is closer to yours. You can also kick your knees to your chest while they are in your guard – this will force them flying forward.
Once they are destabilized, hug their body or head down tightly. One common mistake for an impatient opponent in this situation is to pop one leg up to try to pry you off them. If they do this, capitalize on it – this is the perfect opportunity to set up the sweep!
As your opponent raises their leg up, unlock your closed guard. Hip escape off to one side so you can hook your leg on the same side knee that’s raised up. On that same side, grab for an under hook.
After grips are established, kick your free leg down towards the opponent’s knee. At the same time, rotate your torso, scissoring your legs and kicking the hooked leg up and over.
This motion is very similar to that of the Scissor Sweep. It’s sort of a combination between a scissor sweep and a butterfly sweep. It’s super easy to pull off to an unsuspecting opponent!
These five basic BJJ sweeps are the most fundamental ones in the game. Mastering these basic moves sets you up to more advanced sweeps in the future. Sweeps also sets you up to either get you into a better position or even straight to a submission.
That’s the great thing about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Even though you might be getting destroyed by your opponent from the top, you can easily turn the tides on them!
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