Sweeps part 1: Gorilla Sweeps

I noticed that myself and other students often attempt to force sweeps inappropriately. It’s not just that the timing of the mechanics of the sweep is wrong, it’s that the sweep is completely inappropriate for the situation. Consider attempting a butterfly hook sweep against an opponent who is kneeling with his hips low to the mat — it’s not going to happen.

The next few posts are going to outline several different types of sweeps and when you should use them.

Gorilla Sweeps. Every club has at least one student built like a gorilla. These are the types of sweeps favoured by that student. Brute force helps a lot with these sweeps. A novice will use raw power. A more experienced student will use more leverage, but there is still brute force involved.

Objective 1: Your opponent has several contact points with the ground. Draw a circle around these points. If his head and upper body is inside this circle then he has good base. If his head is outside this circle then he is unstable. The goal at this stage is to make your opponent unstable.

Brute force can be used to move your opponent’s head outside the circle. Misdirection — push then pull is another approach that can use less force but requires good timing. Manipulating the contact points can change the shape of the circle so that less brute force is needed to move the head.

Objective 2: With your opponent in an unstable position, a small amount of force will cause him to fall. Anticipate how he will post a limb when he falls. You must control this limb and prevent him from using it to post.

Objective 3: With his potential post controlled and in an unstable position, a small amount of force is all that is needed to make your opponent fall. When he falls, come to the top position to complete the sweep or reversal.

Using these three objectives as a broad outline should make it easier to understand why many sweeps work, and what went wrong when they fail. You should be familiar with several sweeps that fall into the gorilla sweep category: scissor sweep, hip bump sweep, tripod sweep; as well as several reversals such as the bridge and roll from mount.

You should also recognise several sweeps and reversals that don’t fit into this category: Homer Simpson sweep from deep half guard, escaping side control by turning to your knees, many half guard sweeps. These will be covered in future posts.

Here’s a short video on sweeps that I made to test the camera I’m using. There are some audio problems with over modulation, but I hope to have these fixed for the next video.

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