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Fine-Tuning the Basics: Sit-Up Sweep
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Fine-Tuning the Basics: Sit-Up Sweep

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I’m not completely convinced that the Sit-Up Sweep belongs in a series on the basics. 

Especially, if we’re talking about the first, basic moves that we learn in Jiu Jitsu, the sit-up sweep might not belong on our list.

However, my personal belief is that we should start working on the sit-up sweep as soon as possible.  It’s not that I believe it’s the most devastating sweep out there. Truth is, I’m willing to bet that most white belts who start attempting the sit-up sweep will fail miserably for a long time before they see any success.

Armbars From Everywhere! Click Learn More below!

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So, why should we start with this move early in our Jiu Jitsu careers?  Because it’s good for core strength. Core strength was (and is) my biggest problem area when I started Jiu Jitsu.  And judging from the obesity epidemic in America, I’m confident that the same can be said for 99% of new Jiu Jiteros, as well.

So, let’s look at this sweep, as demonstrated by Renato Canuto.  Even if we’re not successful right away, the core strength it will help us develop will pay dividends down the road.

Canuto begins with his opponent in his guard and grabs the sleeve of his opponent’s right arm with both hands.  He then uses an arm drag to pull his opponent’s right arm across his own body toward his own right shoulder.  

If this results in his opponent’s posture collapsing, then Canuto is in business and can start searching for attacks.

The other possibility is that Canuto’s opponent will respond to Canuto’s arm drag by doubling-down on his own efforts to maintain his posture.  Often, that struggle to maintain posture will result in your opponent over-correcting and leaning too far backwards.

That’s the ideal time to execute a sit-up sweep.  Your opponent is totally absorbed in preventing you from breaking his posture by pulling him forward, so he is not thinking about the sit-up sweep.

Canuto begins his sit up sweep by sitting up (hence, the name of the sweep) and bracing himself on his left elbow.  At the same time, Canuto uses his right foot, planted firmly and flatly against the mat, to help him sit up quickly.

Canuto’s left leg is wrapped around his opponent but is as low to the mat as possible.  And, all the while, Canuto keeps his grip on his opponent’s sleeve, preventing him from using his arm to post and stop the sweep.

The force of the sweep is powered by Canuto’s legs as he hip bumps into his opponent’s abdomen.  Canuto emphasizes that he wants to force his opponent backward, not to the side. Admittedly, the position of their bodies will result in a circular motion during the sweep, but it is important to power your opponent backward to begin that motion.

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And, even after completing the sweep, Canuto still hasn’t released his grip on his victim’s right sleeve.  This allows Canuto the opportunity to go on the offense immediately after sweeping his opponent.

By dragging his opponent’s right arm across his body and downward toward his hip, Canuto makes space to move into a high mount position, from which he can execute an armbar on the arm he has dragged or—if his opponent defends the armbar attempt—Canuto has the option of a straight arm lock on his opponent’s far arm.

During Canuto’s second and third demonstrations of this move, he actually ends up with his opponent’s right arm pinned between his own right arm and his own hip, making the armbar submission an especially convenient option.

The biggest challenge in executing the sit-up sweep is to accomplish it quickly.  This is where core strength comes into play. If you are slowly sitting up and slowly getting to your elbow, your opponent will recognize what is coming.  The sit up needs to be quick, and it needs to be followed quickly by the hip bump that will conclude the sweep.

As I admitted, many people don’t start out with the core strength they will need to accomplish an explosive and surprising sit-up sweep.  But the only way to get there is to strengthen those muscles through practice.

For Canuto’s demonstration of the sit-up sweep, see the video below.  Then, start working those core muscles!

Learn 50 Ways To Master The Armbar With Submission Machine Renato Canuto. Always Be Fighting To The Finish, And Learn How To Armbar From Any Position. Check it our here!

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