The Jab-Cross of Open Guard Sweeps
Let’s talk about two of my favorite sweeps from the open guard. These are high percentage techniques that are used again and again at every level, by novice whitebelts and world-class blackbelts.
When learning a new position I think it’s important to learn the high percentage stuff right away. In general you should first pick the low-hanging fruit, and then move on to the stuff that you’re going to use more rarely. This way you get some immediate positive feedback (hey, this stuff actually works!) plus you start building a solid game you can rely on.
When talking about high percentage techniques I sometimes use the boxing analogy. The four most common and effective punches are the i) jab, ii) cross, iii) hook, and iv) uppercut. Every single boxer knows how to throw these four punches. Why? Because they work!! These four punches have ended thousands upon thousands of boxing matches, leaving no doubt that they are high percentage attacks.
We can talk about specific guard positions in the same way, the only difference is that we’re talking about sweeps and submissions rather than punches. Every guard position has its own set of fundamental attacks that work again and again and again, at every level of competition.
When you’re using the open guard against a standing opponent there are tons of techniques you can use, but I believe you should learn the following two sweeps first. They are the ‘Jab’ and ‘Cross’ of open guard sweeping!
Both of these sweeps function on exactly the same principles (block both legs, push the belly) but they do it using different hooks and different body positions. Since you can’t always be in complete control of where you end up it’s important to have options from different hooks and different body positions.
Here’s a video of the first technique - the ‘Tripod Sweep’ – from my Guard Sweeps App which has easy-to-follow step by step breakdowns of 26 of my favorite sweeps, and is available in several different formats:
Anyway, regardless of whether you get the app or not, the take-home message is this: anytime you can grab the heel of a standing opponent you should at least be threatening this first sweep.
And here, from the same app, is a video of the second technique – the ‘Tomahawk Sweep.’ This is one of my very favorite open guard sweeps. You can really launch someone backwards with it, even if they’re a lot bigger than you!
Have fun with the ‘Jab’ and ‘Cross’ of the Open Guard. These two sweeps have served me very well, and I’m sure they’ll help you out as well!