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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Leverage and Sweeps

In the last few months, I have been focused on trying to figure out more about leverage in grappling. Seeing as I am smaller than most of the people I grapple, being able to sweep someone when I get into a bottom position is pivotal (no pun intended. ;P).


I know it will take me years and years of training to really figure out how to use leverage masterfully. It's one of those things that you can only learn by trial and error--seeing an opportunity, trying it, tweaking it, figuring out why it worked (or didn't work) and what other positions you might be able to use it in. Playing with leverage has become one of my favorite things to do because it's such a puzzle.

One thing I have learned is how important it is to bring the person's weight on top of me. It seems so opposite of what reason would tell me to do. I want to get OUT from under this person, not pull them MORE on top of me. But in order to sweep someone larger than you, you have to get them off of their base in order to take them over. Otherwise, they will be too heavy or strong and won't budge. The way to get them off of their base is to bring them on top of you. Then, you can block their posts (arms or legs) and take them to whatever side you are aiming for.

A key detail in this that I am noticing is that hipping--and being on your hips--is key. For example, if I am in bottom halfguard and I want to sweep someone, I first need to get on my side. Being flat on my back when I am on the bottom in any position is not good. Even when I am working guard, I should never be just laying flat on my back.

After I get onto my hip, using the mobility I now have with being on my side makes a huge difference in whether or not I actually can get a sweep to work. Sometimes that means I have to hip in order to get more underneath the person and bring their weight on top of me, getting them off their base.

Here's a rule of thumb that I am going by recently with sweeps: If my arms and neck are straining, or if a person feels very heavy when I am trying to sweep, I haven't gotten them off their base yet and chances are I need to hip in underneath them more.

The other things about moving my hips while sweeping is that I need to be mobile and switch hips sometimes. If you try to sweep a person in one direction and they post, you have to be ready to take them in the other direction. That means switching which hip you are on. If nothing else, switching directions like that creates space and usually starts a scramble. If you don't get the sweep, you still might have created enough room to hip out to one side or take the back or return to your guard.

What details do you focus on when you are trying to sweep from the bottom?

6 comments:

Family Mat-ters said...

"If my arms and neck are straining, or if a person feels very heavy when I am trying to sweep, I haven't gotten them off their base yet and chances are I need to hip in underneath them more." - Great point. This is something I will make an effort to pay more attention to.

Tree Frog said...

I often try to get "same side leg and arm" under my control.

Committing in full to the first sweep is crucial. If they properly defend it, switch to the counter and back and forth or throw in another counter. Eventually you'll crack open their defense and get something. It's much like the OODA concept espoused by fighter pilots.

The Part Time Grappler said...

I like combining one sweep with one submission (usually a choke). The reason for that is mainly coz I'm lazy :)

What I mean by that is that if I insert my right hand in for a collar choke and then with my left control their sleeve for a scissor sweep, I turn on my left hip and go for it. If they resist the sweep, I insist on it until their resistance is so solid, that they become an immobile object. That's when I let go with my left and slip it in for the choke. I can go back and forth between the choke and sweep without having to change my body orientation (told you I'm lazy).

Family Mat-ters said...

@ Part Time, you roll like my husband. Tom catches me in that all of the time.

A.D. McClish said...

@ Tree Frog-- You're very right. I have a problem with the sometimes because I am scared to commit and end up in a bad position. Ironically, not committing usually leads to me getting into a worse position anyway. lol

@Liam: Thank you, thank you! I used that little trick last night and it worked. Awesome!! :)

Combat Sports Review said...

-Thanks for the pointer! "Chances are I need to hip in underneath them more." That simple statement was like coming out of the darkness. Now I know why I'm stalling out a lot of my sweeps.
-I focus on where their center of balance is and how I can move it or capitalize on it.
-@ Tree Frog - I really do need to commit to the first sweep more. I find my self "playing" with the sweep and giving them time to counter. Which, BTW never ends well for me. ;-)
-@ Liam, I LUVZ lazy jitsu!

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