Top 5 Sweeps for BJJ Beginners

Top 5 Sweeps for BJJ Beginners

you’re a beginner to BJJ, blue or even a brown belt, you’ll need to understand the concept and advantages of sweeps in the sport.

What are Sweeps in BJJ?

A sweep is generally any move that can take your opponent down. You can apply a sweep to down an opponent that’s on top for a mount or a submission.

In a BJJ battle, sweeps are what makes things interesting as even the most obvious loser can turn things completely around with a good sweep.

As one of the most important moves in the sport, you will need to learn many sweeps to be able to counter any sort of opponent.

People normally assume that sweeps are essentially offensive maneuvers that are applied from a guard position.

However, this isn’t the limit of the sweep’s ability.

Anyone who has watched a fair share of BJJ fights will know that sweeps are used as counter moves.

In fact, below you’ll find sweeps that allow you to recover from failed attempts at submissions, movements and even position transitions while remaining in a favorable position:

1. Elevator Sweep

The elevator sweep is designed to get you out of messy situations with the help of your legs.

Elevator sweeps are based on a simple principle, i.e. getting your opponent off by lifting them in the air.

To do that, you need to make sure that you’re in an open guard position.

Since you’re going to have an opponent making moves to try and pin you, you need to watch for an opening and grab both their sleeves.

Once you have the sleeves, tighten the grip because this is it.

Use your legs by keeping one on the top of each thigh, right at the waist of your opponent.

Now’s the time to pull your opponent in by lying on your back, and using your feet to lift them in the air.

Since they’re unable to use their feet and their hands are gripped, they’re all yours.

Throw them behind and use the momentum to roll back and get on top of your opponent.

2. Hip Bump Sweep

This is another unexpecting sweep that will take opponents who’re unaware of it down very quickly.

Another thing that is appreciated by many BJJ professionals is that the hip bump sweep gives you safety nets even when it fails.

This means you can go for a submission or escape altogether if things don’t go your way.

To do the hip bump sweep, you need an opponent in a closed guard who’s got their hands on your stomach, pressing you down.

Since you can’t get them close for a submission, you focus on bringing them down altogether.

Grip their left sleeve. Set your feet down to bend your knees and get up with your right hand supporting you.

Your left hand should be gripping your opponent’s left hand.

Now, this is where normally, people expect the opponent to go down but they use their left hand to set themselves down.

You can do two things here:

  • Keep their sleeve up as you rotate your body and take them down and yank it just when they’re about to apply pressure to bring it further away to your side, not allowing it to support their body.
  • You can let them support their body with the left arm.

Since your legs now have their arm between them, all you have to do is bring your right knee under your left knee while rolling over.

Hold your opponent’s waist with your right hand, and you have a perfect submission hold.

3. Scissor Sweep

The scissor sweep is one of the best offenses in the closed guard position.

It involves immobilizing your opponent’s hand and blocking them with your knee.

You do this by taking your left leg and bringing your foot down flat to allow you to move back.

Now, you focus on gripping their right sleeve and bringing your left knee close.

Take your left knee and block them by placing it against your right shoulder.

Since you’ll have their hand close to you, their shoulder will give space for your knee.

With a body inclining towards the right, move to the left and place your right leg on your opponent’s left knee.

The move to the left will do two things:

  1. It will allow your right leg to reach their knee
  2. It will make your opponent fall on you, allowing you to kick it and make them fall.

Your left leg should block them from going left or close to you while your hand keeps them from getting up before you kick the knee.

4. Pendulum or Flower Sweep

The pendulum sweep is known for the high percentage of success it promises.

Like the hip bump sweep, the pendulum also gives you options to mix things up for opponents who’ve become of the initial technique.

The way this works is when you’re in a closed guard position, you go for an arm lock.

Now, everyone knows that for this to happen, you need to get in a perpendicular position to your opponent by getting back and turning right (or left).

Only then will you be able to get your legs across their head.

However, your opponent will obviously know to lean their head left to not allow your leg to hook their neck.

That’s where you cancel the arm lock and keep your left leg raised to the left.

Take your right hand and balance your opponent on your hamstring and rotate.

You’ll have your right leg between their left arm (below this) and left leg (above this) while your right hand will be under their left leg.

As you rotate, you need to extend your left leg down to allow for a better rotation.

This will get your opponent down on the ground while allowing you to mount them from the top.

5. Butterfly Sweep

From the butterfly guard position, you need to make sure that you have a firm grip on your opponent’s sleeves.

Now, stick your bent knees on both of their shoulders while keeping their arms close to your knees.

Remember, if their hands can reach your waist, it’s game over. They’ll have full control of your legs.

Once you have them in a lock with your knees in place, use your right foot to kick your opponent’s left thigh open.

Now that their thigh is open, you can use your right leg and bring it over to the left side, to support your left foot that is applying pressure on the opponent’s waist.

At this time, you should be gripping your opponent’s right hand and their left knee by the Gi.

Next, you bring your shoulder close to their left knee to have them come close to you.

With a body that’s inclining towards the right, push your opponent by extending your body.

As they try to push back to retain balance, bring them all the way in and rotate to lift them with your knees.

Instantly extend your left leg to make them fall on the left side.

Since you’ll still be holding their left knee and their right sleeve, you can use the sweep to land in a side mount or the knee on belly position. 

6. Takeaway

These are some of the most important sweeps you’ll need in BJJ as a beginner.

It’s crucial to note that you have to master your technique as well as have the physical strength, elasticity and flexibility to execute these sweeps perfectly.

There will be times when you’re in a training session or fight in a no-gi setting, this is where rashguards come into play.

Read more about all you need to know of BJJ here.

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