Back in the days of, Jeff Rockwell had put up a series of half guard sweeps. He taught starting from a sitting guard and diving in deep as a counter to combat base. I’ve used my internet sleuthing to recover them so I could add them to my notes here. I’m currently focusing on half guard and want to work on these.

It’s all Jeff below:

Sweep #1

I got the first of these from watching Shaolin Ribero and the last two from watching the Noguiera brothers in the last Pride. When you put them all together, it is a formidable series of sweeps and reversals, I’ve been having a lot of success with them recently. While the main place I’ve been applying them is vs. Combat Base (knee up inside guard), there are LOTS of places to aquire this position from, ie. escaping mount, escaping quarter mount, escaping backmount, etc.

Alright, here I am facing an opponent who has taken a “Combat Base” posture (knee up inside my guard), to defend against standard attacks. As you can see, I am sitting up, not laying flat on my back, and my right hand is on the ground for base. My left hand checks his shoulder to moniter his movement. In this picture, there is a lot of space between his knee and his butt for me to work with; however, even if there is only a few inches of space, I have still found this entry to work.

My right leg is going to shoot inside the space between his right leg and his butt. Sometimes I will momentarily grab his right leg with my left hand to hold it in place. Here I am starting to dive my right leg in between his right calf and his butt. It is important that I dive DEEPLY, no half-hearted moves here. My right hand leaves its based-out position and follows my right leg…

…also diving between his legs, and coming to rest as an underhook beneath his left leg. Even if he is sitting his weight back on his left leg, it is hard for him to resist this, as I am rocking all my bodyweight up underneath him.

This is the “Seated Half Guard” starting position. My head should be tight against his left hip, and I am so far under his body that we are almost facing the same direction. My ankles are crossed and my legs are squeezing to control his right leg.

Here is an important detail: if at any time, he is able to put his right knee down on the ground, I simply put my left knee in front of his right hip and back out into a normal half-guard position. I don’t want to stay crunched up under him if his knee goes down, as he will be able to crossface me and kill my game. The knee in front is pretty easy to get here, though, so if you have a good normal half-guard game, this will won’t be too much of a concern.

Now for the first sweep, this is a really nice one. My left hand stays tight to my body, and reaches for his right ankle.

Now I rock back to get some momentum, then rock forward and extend my left leg and lever forward, pushing on the top of his right thigh with my left hamstring, while pulling on his right ankle with my left hand.

I follow him up, keeping control of both legs…

…as I start to sprawl downward, underhooking his left thigh with my right arm and overhooking his right thigh with my left arm…

..and capturing his right ankle with with the crook of my right knee. Keeping the under/over grip, I lean to a 45 degreee angle, keeping tight control of his hips, and extend my hips for the kneebar submission. If he bends his leg to avoid the tap, I get an easy guard pass.

Sweep #2

You can see this sweep attempted several times in the Pride fight where Rogerio Noguierra faces Shogun Rua. Though Shogun counters by repeatedly standing and running out of it, I have found it very effective. Enjoy!

So you have attemped sweep number one from the initial sitting half guard position, but you aren’t able to grab his foot. So instead of underhooking his left leg, my right arm now underhooks his RIGHT leg, and my left arm joins it. Both hands are clasped together palm to palm over top of his right leg. This is a weird position at first, but there is not too much the top guy can do to you here. He can’t put much weight on you, can’t attack your arms, your legs, or your neck. The Noguierra brothers have used this position successfully in MMA, but I haven’t tried it in that scenario myself. I wouldn’t want to stay here long if someone was punching me in the face, but that’s just me. It does seem that it keeps the guy pretty off balance, not much power in his punches if you keep rocking. In any case…

…my first direction is out the back door. I have a lot of control over his leg here, and I rock my body hard to my left…

…extending my legs as I bring his weight forward and pop my head out from under his leg…

…coming out the back door like so.

If the opponent stays low, I look to block his left knee with my right hand, come to either back control or side control. Shogun showed us that this can be countered by standing up and twisting out of it, though, so be ready to follow with a single or double leg if he stands.

Sweep #3

The last sweep in this series. For now.

Here I have acquired the same position at the start of the previous sweep, and I am rocking my body hard to my left, attempting to come out the back door.

My opponent knows my intentions, however, and sits his weight down hard back toward his butt to counter.

Keeping my arms gripped tight on his leg, I twist back to my right, following his momentum and turning upward… finish with a “single leg” type reversal. Minotauro hit this nicely in the first exchange of the Pride fight with the Polish judo champ.

Like many of the other sweeps so far, it leaves you in perfect position to once again hit the over/under – kneebar submission/guard pass.