Sweeping Opponent From Guard!

When playing guard, you are either looking to work towards a dominant position or to submit your opponent. There are many different factors that will affect your success sweeping opponent from guard, including size difference, experience, and style of jiu jitsu.

Some schools teach MMA or catch-wrestling style of grappling as compared to traditional Brazilian jiu jitsu, and there are many different styles of each individual grappling discipline.

It is important to try and grapple with as many different training partners as possible so you can experience how certain techniques and strategies work for you against each individual style.

There are a few guiding principles that should be ingrained into your memory so you can be more successful in your guard. All of the following concepts work together and are not mutually exclusive. Try to focus on the following tips when you are having a hard time.


When playing the guard in BJJ, you should always be trying to get your opponent off balance. In Judo, the concept of Kuzushi is often referenced. Kuzushi is the Japanese term for unbalancing an opponent. The 3 primary ways to apply the kuzushi are: pushing/pulling, inducing your opponent’s action (combinations or fakes), or countering an opponent’s movement.

These 3 principles are easy to apply in any martial art, especially in jiu jitsu. You should be attempting to do all three of these things while in guard.

There are plenty of setups in bjj that you can use to induce a reaction from your opponent, allowing you to re-counter after his attempt to counter your initial attack.

A simple and effective example of this is the triangle-armbar combination. When you lock up a triangle, the common defense of your opponent is to posture up.

If you are able to grab an arm as the opponent postures and swing your leg across the head, you have just one all three of these things:

1.) The set-up (Pull and snatch the triangle)

2.) Your opponent postures (Reaction that was induced by your triangle)

3.) Armbar (Countering your opponents’ reaction).

Posture and Grips When Sweeping Opponent From Guard.

Not controlling the opponent’s posture is one of the most common mistakes at the lower level of bjj. Attacks are much harder to set up if your opponent is sitting up straight and in control of his own base.

Breaking posture will give you control of his base and superior hip position, which is of the utmost importance in setting up sweeps and submissions.

Learn how to properly break posture and your success will skyrocket from the bottom position. Grip control is another underutilized tactic for beginners. Establishing your grips and eliminating the grips of the opponent gives you a huge advantage in control. Increasing grip strength and hand flexibility is an excellent complement to your Brazilian jiu jitsu.

Leverage and Positioning.

The more you practice jiu jitsu, the more you should gain an understanding of how leverage works in the human body. A good way to start is to always drill techniques slowly at first.

Drilling in a technical manner without using strength or momentum will allow you to find the best positioning and grips to complete the movement with minimal effort. Take for instance, the flower sweep. The flower sweep is a very easy movement to drill, but in live rolling it can sometimes be difficult to pull off. When you slow down the practice and focus on what makes this movement work you will begin to understand leverage.

When doing the flower sweep, your opponent’s posture needs to be broken down so his weight is on top of you. His weight distribution also needs to be on the side of your body that you are sweeping towards, if his weight is on the other side, it will be difficult to finish the sweep because you have to move his base all the way across your body. Pay attention and break down the reasons why and how a certain technique works when you are drilling to speed up your progress.

Sweeping Opponent From Guard: Size and Style.

Grandmaster Helio Gracie is the most famous man to use his form of jiu jitsu to defeat bigger and stronger opponents in competition. That is what purists call “Real Brazilian jiu jitsu,” using your body effectively and efficiently against opponents of any size and strength.

Helio’s approach was focused on that principle, and modern grappling has so many different styles and techniques that the most basic principle is often overlooked. All of the concepts discussed in this article will work against an opponent of a bigger and stronger size.

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