The Ball and Chain Sweep is one of the highest percentage attacks from the de la Riva guard.
This sweep has been used again and again by many high level competitors, and is one of the favorite techniques of BJJ World Champion Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins.
In simple terms, to do the ball and chin sweep you start in de la Riva Guard, kick the guy’s back leg away from you, sit up, feed his near arm through his legs, and then pull him forward onto their face.
There are a lot of nuances to making this an effective hight level technique.
Check out the video below for a complete breakdown of how to do it properly. And watch until 14:07 to see two great examples of Brandon hitting this move in competition…
Part 1: Sit Up and Feed the Sleeve
The first part of this technique is to push your opponent’s back leg away with one of your feet, sit up, hug his lead leg, and feed his arm between his legs.
Here’s what it looks like at speed…
The funny thing is that the first time I saw this technique I thought, “There’s no way this is going to work. Nobody is just going to give you their arm like that”.
However my concern was unfounded. As soon as I started trying this sweep I found it was actually a LOT easier to get this grip than I had initially thought. I got it all the time and – it must be said – people started getting it on me.
Part of the reason it’s relatively easy to feed the sleeve is because an opponent will be trying to get his own grips to pass your guard. If his hands are out to grab you then you can get your own grip on his sleeve.
Also you’ve secured your initial sleeve grip it’s quite difficult for him to rip it out. His strongest direction of pull is backwards, towards his rear hip, and that’s exactly the direction you want his arm to go anyhow.
Until you experience some initial success with this move you may need to take it on faith. It works, so give it a try!
If you’re paying attention to the details then you should start experiencing some success quite quickly.
Some key points for the initial part of this sweep include…
- Control his heel with your non-sleeve hand initially
- DON’T stretch him out first and then sit up; instead follow him immediately using his momentum.
- Hug his leg tight and lean slightly forward with your body when you sit up
- Use your leg to hook behind his heel to stop him from pulling his leg out when you let go of his heel to transfer the grip
- Your second grip (that goes through his legs) typically controls his sleeve with four fingers rolled into the cuff of his gi, which is a commonly used grip in the spider guard
(All these details and more are covered in the video close to the top of the page.)
Part 2: Grip the Collar and Tip Opponent Forward
Once you’ve fed his sleeve between his legs life is good. The first (very powerful) sweep you should try from here is to reach up, grab his near collar, pull him forward, and push his rear leg out until he topples forward.
Then keep your grips, especially the arm between his legs, and come up to the top.
Here’s what it looks like…
The key to knocking him over is that you drive him in a direction that he cannot post once you get his near collar.
With one of his arms out of circulation then no matter how he tries to post he’s like a table with 3 legs. Pull him towards the corner of the table that’s missing a leg (typically his front left quadrant) and he should go down quite easily.
The magical thing about this sweep is that it’s effective even if your opponent knows it’s coming!!
Note that this can be a really hard fall for your training partner, especially if he can’t use his one remaining free hand to base out. If he goes down fast onto his shoulder then he can really hurt him, so PLEASE use control when drilling this and using it in sparring.
You really don’t want to break your toys, so protect your training partner at all times.
If you secure your between-the-legs grip but the first sweep doesn’t work then maintain the grip; don’t let go and start again from scratch!!
With one of his arms trapped you have a HUGE advantage. You can move him and follow him forwards and backwards, left and right, and in each direction there are many, many ways to sweep him and submit him.
If you spend quality time in the ball and chain position then you’ll learn that no matter what he does you’ll be able to follow up.
Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu with Brandon Mullins
For a really detailed breakdown and gameplan for the most powerful de la Riva attacks check out the Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu instructional that I put together with Brandon.
It’s available as a 4 DVD set with free worldwide shipping and/or instant access online streaming streaming. Click here for more info about the instructional.
The same techniques and strategies are also included in the Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu module of the Grapplearts BJJ Master App for your Apple or Android device. The app is free to download and you can preview quite a bit of the material.
Finally, I’m very excited that in September 2020 Brandon and I will be launching the Non-Stop Jiu-Jitsu book.
We’ve spent YEARS working on this project, agonising over every detail. That’s why the finished product is super-organised, beautifully laid out, and has so much detail that it’ll set a new standard for BJJ books in the future.
If you want to be notified when it’s available please enter your email address in the box below…
Thank you so much,