In today's blog post, you'll learn a highly effective half guard sweep sequence to elevate your BJJ game.
This sequence incorporates two sweeps and a back take, ultimately landing you in top side control position.
Mastering half guard techniques is crucial for both beginners and experienced practitioners alike.
During sparring sessions, beginners will often find themselves in the half guard position.
This is because half guard is a go-to escape route from unfavorable positions.
In addition, beginners may lack a solid open guard game, leading them to default to the half guard whenever possible to defend against passing.
The half guard sweep sequence that I'm sharing today has been a staple in my game since I was a white belt.
I've successfully executed these techniques on a variety of opponents, proving its effectiveness time and time again.
To get a full breakdown of the sequence, check out the video instructional below.
By drilling these moves regularly, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the half guard position and take your BJJ skills to the next level.
Table of Contents
BJJ Instructional Video: Half Guard Sweep Sequence
Half Guard Sweep Sequence Step-By-Step Guide
The Z half guard or simply known as the Z guard.
The sequence begins by establishing the Z half guard position, also known as the Z guard.
Like any other half guard positions, you need to first isolate one of your opponent's legs using yours.
To properly execute this technique, position the shin and knee of your top leg firmly against your opponent's chest.
Use your top arm to control your opponent's cross shoulder, while your bottom arm focuses on their cross arm.
By controlling your opponent's arm and maintaining firm pressure on their chest, you'll prevent them from getting a cross face and flattening you.
This is crucial in any half guard position, as being flattened can leave you vulnerable to your opponent's attacks.
To see an example of the Z guard position, refer to the photo above.
After you establish the Z guard position, you can start practicing the half guard sweep sequence.
Half guard sweep #1: Taking the back
In the first sequence, you'll take your opponent's back from the Z half guard position.
Not only is this move effective, but it's also relatively simple to perform compared to other attacks in the sequence.
This is a straightforward attack that can earn you the most points (4 points) in IBJJF competitions.
It will also land you in the most advantageous position in BJJ, which is the back mount.
By successfully executing this technique, you'll be in a prime position to attempt submissions such as the rear naked choke.
Step #1: Get a deep underhook
Kick your top leg to get space for your underhook.
To begin the sequence, start by kicking or straightening your top leg while in the Z half guard position.
This will create a spacious opening between your opponent's elbow and rib cage.
Take advantage of this opening to obtain a deep underhook on your opponent.
It's important to note that the underhook should be as deep as possible, with your top arm extending all the way to the opposite side of your opponent's hip.
Refer to the animated image above for a visual representation of this technique.
Step #2: Hook your opponent’s leg with the half guard foot work
This foot work and hook is very important in this half guard sweep sequence.
After securing the deep underhook, the next step in the half guard sweep sequence is to perform the "half guard foot work".
This step is critical to the success of all three sweeps in the sequence.
To execute the footwork, start by hooking your opponent's isolated leg with your top leg.
This hook will allow you to bend your opponent's leg at the knee.
From here, slide your bottom leg out to get into a kneeling position, and maintain the control over your opponent's isolated leg all the time.
Refer to the animated image above for a clearer understanding of the footwork involved in this step.
Step #4: Get back exposure
Shrug your shoulder and pull your head behind to get to your opponent's back.
Once you have completed the half guard footwork, the next step is to expose your opponent's back.
This will enable you to take advantage of the most advantageous position in BJJ, the back mount.
To achieve this, simply shrug your shoulder and pull your head behind your opponent's back.
This will position you halfway towards your opponent's back, making it easier for you to complete the move and take control.
See the animated image above for reference.
Step #5: Get the back mount
Getting the back mount.
Maintaining control is important when taking your opponent's back. After exposing your opponent's back, it is a mistake to rush in to take it.
Without a seat belt grip or leg hooks, your opponent can still use their arms as leverage to get up or throw you off.
Instead, use a more controlled method.
Push your opponent's near side arm off the mat to destabilize them, making them lose their base and fall to the side.
Once they are on the ground, you can start setting your seat belt grip and hooks.
It's essential to remember that control is key.
Rushing in can cause you to lose position.
To get a clear understanding, see the animated image above.
Half guard sweep #2: Old school sweep from half guard
The next sweep in the sequence is known as the "old school sweep".
You transition from the back take to this sweep if your opponent defends your first attack.
Step #1: Get an underhook
Opponent defends your back take attempt by putting a whizzer on your underhooking arm.
In the first step of this sequence, you'll begin in the same position as the previous sequence.
However, in this scenario, your opponent has managed to apply an overhook, also known as a whizzer, on your underhooking arm.
The whizzer is a powerful technique that can prevent you from taking your opponent's back.
When you feel the whizzer being applied, it's important to start looking for other options.
This is where the old school sweep comes in. This is a classic BJJ technique that is highly effective from the half guard position.
See the animated image above to see how the whizzer looks like.
Step #2: Hook your opponent’s leg with the half guard foot work
Hooking your opponent's leg with the half guard foot work.
The next step is also the same with the one from the previous sequence.
Hook your opponent's isolated leg with your top leg and get on your knees.
Step #3: Finish the old school sweep
Finishing the old school half guard sweep.
To finish the old school sweep, all you need to do now is cupping your opponent's far knee.
At the same time, you want to use your head to drive your opponent to his side.
The cup on your opponent's knee basically takes away his base and with the head drive, you'll be able to put him to the ground and end in top side control.
For a better understanding, refer to the animated image above.
Half guard sweep #3: Lucas Leite sweep
The final sweep is the coolest looking one and will turn heads if you hit it during competitions or sparring sessions.
You can do this sweep if your opponent manages to defend your back take and also have a solid strong base to prevent you from using the old school sweep.
Read the breakdown below.
Step #1: Get an underhook but opponent defends back take and has strong base
Opponent gets a whizzer and does not put the knee on the floor to build a strong solid base.
Like in the previous two sweeps, the first step is to get an underhook.
This time, your opponent prevents the back take by using a whizzer, lifting their knee off the mat, and planting their far foot firmly on the ground.
This stops you from finishing with the old school sweep.
Moreover, your opponent also uses their free hand to push your head away, preventing you from giving any driving pressure on their posture.
Refer to the image above for a better understanding.
Step #2: Hook your opponent’s isolated leg
Hook the isolated leg.
As with the previous sweeps, you still need to hook your opponent's isolated leg using the half guard foot work.
But this time, really make sure that the hook is solid because you will need this strong isolation in order for the Lucas Leite sweep to work.
Step #3: Insert your free hand behind your opponent’s thigh
Insert your free hand behind your opponent's thigh to fully isolate the leg.
Next, you want to have even stronger control of your opponent's isolated leg by inserting your free hand behind their thigh.
When you insert your free hand, make sure to cup the back of your opponent's thigh with your palm facing towards you.
See the animated image above to learn how it is done.
Step #4: Finish the Lucas Leite sweep
Finishing the Lucas Leite half guard sweep.
You have now successfully isolated one side of your opponent's body.
To finish the Lucas Leite sweep, you need to perform a forward roll while maintaining all the grips and leg hooks.
The roll will generate the necessary momentum and leverage to flip your opponent, and you will end up in top side control.
You can refer to the animated image above to see how it is done.
This is the final technique of the half guard sweep sequence.
To wrap it up....
Mastering the half guard sweep sequence is an essential skill for any BJJ practitioner.
The half guard provides a great defensive position and can be used to launch effective sweeps to gain top position or even submission opportunities.
Remember to always prioritize getting an underhook and establishing the half guard position before executing any of the sweeps.
From there, the three sweep options – the back take, old school, and Lucas Leite sweeps – offer different alternatives depending on your opponent's defense.
Make sure to practice the footwork and grips needed for each sweep, as well as maintaining control and pressure throughout the sweep.
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