GB Fundamentals: Closed Guard Sweep Fundamentals

This week on GB Technique we are going to look at some of the very first guard techniques that we learn in jiu-jitsu – sweeps from our closed guard.
Just because these techniques are called Fundamental, does NOT mean that they are for beginners only. Or that the sweeps will not work on more advanced colored belts.
We call them Fundamentals because ALL Jiu-Jitsu students need to learn them and as importantly, the skills that we learn from mastering these techniques, we can then apply to all of the rest of our positions in jiu-jitsu.
Check out GB Online to see more Fundamentals at GB 1
Let’s take a look at some Fundamental sweeps by some of the top Gracie Barra black belt instructors from Brasil.
1) Sweep #1 on The Ground – Raspagem partindo da Guarda Fechada
Some call this the Pendulum or Flower sweep. Whatever name you call it, it is one of the BEST fundamental sweeps to learn as it teaches so many important skills for sweeping.

2) Sweep #2 against Standing opponent – Raspagem partindo da Guarda Fechada (c/ o opponent em pé)
This is a really common scenario when our opponent stands in our closed guard. Let’s see how we can adapt sweep #1 to sweep a standing opponent.
Ok, now notice that there are several key points that BOTH sweeps have in common.
1) Control the posting arm of the opponent.
The most common mistake that we see beginners make when attempting sweeps is forgetting to control the opponent’s sleeve. When they try to unbalance the opponent, the opponent stops the sweep by merely posting their free arm out and preventing the sweep.
You must have control over the arm that the opponent will use to post and nullify your sweep!
2) Move your hips to change the angle
In judo, we learn the 8 directions of kuzushi – the different directions that we may look to throw or sweep our opponent. In the guard, this means moving our hips (how many times has your Gracie Barra instructor given you that specific advice?!) to create the optimal angle to direct our opponent’s balance.
Note in both sweeps how the guard player pivots on a rounded back and completely changes the angle before attempting the sweep.
3) Use the power of your legs to move the opponent
The most powerful actions of the human body come from the legs and hips. If we are looking at applying force to sweep our opponent, it makes sense to utilize those stronger muscles to do the work.
Note the powerful action of the legs in these sweeps to unbalance the opponent and drive their weight in the correct direction.
These points are common to nearly ALL guard sweeps.
When we understand and master Fundamental sweeps like these, we can then apply them to all of the other numerous sweeps that we learn in class.
If you have any questions about technique, please send us a message at GB Online!
See also on GB: GB Fundamentals: The Short Arm Drag
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia