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John Danaher’s Sumi Gaeshi Mechanics Explained

John Danaher’s Sumi Gaeshi Mechanics Explained



The sumi gaeshi or hook sweep as many refer to it, has very deep roots in BJJ history. Using the instep to  elevate an opponent or even an assailant is a tale as old as time. Since the inception of our art this method of reversing a top player and getting ourselves from the bottom of an exchange to the top has been a mainstay in the games of every BJJ practitioner. This is for good reason. It’s not difficult to understand how the process works and it’s a high percentage method of attaining the sweep. But how well do you really understand the true mechanics of the hook sweep?

John Danaher has once again presented us with another installment in his incredible library of instruction. This time, the open guard is the topic of interest in his “Go Further Faster” series. With the open guard being of the utmost importance to your BJJ toolbox, this instructional is sure to have massive beneficial effects on the open guard portion of your game as well as your entire BJJ skillset as a whole. 

The hook sweep is a point of focus in the new instructional and it’s a fantastic entry level concept to help you begin getting a grasp on the themes of the open guard. The hook sweep is a simple reversal but as your training partners grow in their skill and knowledge you may find it becomes harder to implement. If we hope to continue using this type of sweep as the belts around us grow darker, we’ll need to make sure that the details are razor sharp. In this video, John Danaher gives us a look at this important method of reversing and points out some hook sweep details that that can’t be ignored. Check this out! 


This particular segment focuses heavily on the roles of both of our feet during the hook sweep. In some demonstrations without his partner, Danaher first begins by showing us the proper positioning of the body. Positioning himself much in the style of what we’d see for a technical lift, Danaher chooses a staggered stance for the set up. This positioning of the body lends itself to the mechanics of the sweep, providing a leg that we’ll use for the hook and a bottom leg that we’ll use to drive.

It’s HERE, Overhaul Your Open Guard With John Danaher! Click Learn More!



Danaher clears up some misconceptions about the reversal by explaining the roles of both legs. Some may think that the top leg (the hooking leg) is where the power comes from for the reversal. This is not the case. The top leg will be charged with the task of directing the guard passer’s body. The bottom leg will be our driving leg that ultimately completes the sweep. In an example, Danaher demonstrates how we use the bottom leg to lift our knees from the floor and provide power for the sweep.

One of the quickest ways for this reversal to fall apart will be for us to pull our partner squarely on top of us. As Danaher explains, we must fall directly to our shoulder during this process to gain the maximum leverage and angle necessary for the technique. This paramount and you should always keep this in mind when performing this type of reversal. As Danaher demonstrates you can work through these ideas in a solo fashion to make sure you understand the principles. Notice how active his bottom leg is during the process. By the end of the technique, the only parts of his body in contact with the mat are the ball of his right foot and his right shoulder. Commit to your shoulder for this one. We will not be able to get the job done if we position ourselves on our elbow. 

With his partner now entering the fold and taking position on his knees, Danaher now reveals how the sweep works with another body. He first secures a grip on the belt with his left hand and on the opposite side of his partners body we find him securing the sleeve. As Danaher commits to his right shoulder, you can see how quickly his partners base is compromised. The guard passer is forced to make a tripod, compensating for his lack of balance. If the passer does not adopt this stance the sweep is incredibly easy. As this occurs, Danaher adjusts by taking his bottom foot toward his backside and uses it to drive up to his knee. Once he arrives, he begins the action of walking his foot toward his partner in a circular fashion. This motion creates the perfect circumstances for the reversal. 

Danaher offers us a method of practice for this particular technique. He advises us to perform the move without the assistance of momentum and to stop in the middle of the seep. This will cause us to only use perfect mechanics to complete the reversal instead of reliance on energy and momentum. 

With details like this, we’re going to set ourselves up for continued success in these types of situations. Danaher has a way of shining new light on techniques we thought we knew and he helps us to view them through a new lens. Often times putting the piece together in a new way that’s just simply easier to understand. Don’t miss out on this important release. I can’t wait to delve in to the rest of this material! Available now at the BJJ Fanatics online store!

Open Guard: BJJ Fundamentals - Go Further Faster by John Danaher
The ‘Go Further Faster Series By John Danaher’ continues to innovate and revolutionize Jiu-Jitsu. Danaher’s latest installment focused on the Open Guard is a GAME-CHANGER. Take action today!


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