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Top 6 [Hidden] Mistakes When Sweeping An Attacker!

In honor of one of my favorite topics, here are the Top 6 Hidden Mistakes people make when sweeping an attacker and what you should do instead-if you want to get on top!

At the bottom of this article you can see an example of my favorite sweep!  Make sure to check it out!

Mistake #1

“Just kick them over.” Utilizing leverage to make someone fall on their butt is a very technical thing, just kicking them over is not enough. If the attacker is bigger than you, stronger than you, or better than you, they will be able to counter a kick incredibly easily.

What to do instead:

I use a very simple algorithm for every sweep, every reversal, and every takedown:

  1. Control their posture! This means I have my attacker broken down in a way that they are not 100% in control of their balance–ie they are FALLING DOWN! This does not necessarily mean they are knocked over! It could mean I have picked them up and am holding them in the air. Either way, they are not in control of their balance.
  2. Take away the post! Whatever direction you want your attacker is falling take away the arm, leg, head, or whatever they may be is using to keep them up.
  3. Activate the leverage making them take a seat is an example. What I mean is that once they take a seat they are pretty much on their back….which is right where you want them! Right?!

CLICK HERE: To learn to ESCAPE from the bottom and WIN from World CHAMPION TODAY!

Mistake #2:

Not using your head. Now I’m not calling you stupid (although I guess that applies, too). I mean this LITERALLY. Use your head as a post and stop yourself from falling down!  Yes, you can do that! <wink>

What to do instead:

Head placement is really important when you’re sweeping, and in almost every case it should be on the opposite side from the direction you’re sending your attacker. In the Venus Flower Sweep, your head must be on the same side as the leg you’re hooking (opposite from the direction you’re sweeping), or else you are not going to get the sweep. In a butterfly sweep, your head should be on the same side as the under hook. Also in the butterfly sweep you want to place your head into your attacker’s jaw. Some coaches say not to do that against training partners because it’s “mean.” They are coddling you and because of that your technique will be WEAK!  It’s not actually mean at all, it doesn’t hurt-that much- it’s just a little frustrating to deal with because it’s hard to move.

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Mistake #3:

Sweeping from your back. I know, I know. According to the IBJJF, all sweeps happen from the back, right? That is the definition of a sweep right—you start in guard and then end up on top. But if your entire back is on the ground, there’s no way you’ll be able to execute a sweep properly.

What to do instead:

Get on your side. Sit up. You want as little of your body as possible touching the ground, and your back is the biggest part of your body! Once you are in an active position, you’ll have much more leverage and have a much higher chance of executing the sweep.


Mistake #4:

Grabbing the head. This is for no-gi. A lot of jiu-jitsu instructors tell you to grab the back of the head and pull it down in order to break your attacker’s posture, but this is really easy to get out of. All your attacker has to do is roll his head, and he’s out of it.

What to do instead:

Under hook, or gable grip the shoulder. A strong gable grip is a nightmare to escape, and it’s easy to control someone’s posture from here. The straight under hook works as well, in the right scenario.


Mistake #5:

Sweeping with a headlock. The problem with this is when you sweep with a headlock, you’re automatically giving the guy your back, even if you successfully sweep your attacker.

What to do instead:

Sweep with a guillotine, or an under hook. Duh.

Mistake #6:

Failing to use the momentum of the sweep to land on top. This one is really common. You break the posture, you take the post, you send them over …. and then you don’t follow through with the action, which means both of you are now on your back. I think the reason is because people are afraid of pulling the attacker back on top of them.

What to do instead:

Let your attacker take you with them! If you’re holding onto your attacker well enough to sweep, it doesn’t matter if they land on top of you. You just get the sweep them again. But if you’re holding onto them and sending them over,their momentum should pull you into the top position, rather than you having to play catch up to get back on top.

CLICK HERE: To learn to ESCAPE from the bottom and WIN from World CHAMPION TODAY!