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Travis Stevens Teaches the Tripod Sweep

Travis Stevens Teaches the Tripod Sweep


Travis Stevens is not just one of the most successful American judokas in history, winning the silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.  On the side, he just so happens to also be a John Danaher black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Travis is a product of the same detailed approach that has made the Danaher Death Squad so successful at the elite level.

In the video below excerpted from his recent course BJJ Basics:  The Complete Curriculum to Master the Fundamentals, Travis Stevens presents his ultra-effective version of the standard tripod sweep.  Check it out and we'll break it down afterwards.

In this scenario, Travis Stevens is on his back taking on an open guard position.  His opponent steps forward with his right leg and secures grips on Travis' pant legs to begin his attempts at guard passing.

The first step Travis Stevens must accomplish is to attach himself to the lead leg by cupping the ankle on the leg that is most prominent.  This grip attaches him to his opponent and prevents the opponent's retreat.

Once the opponent's heel is cupped, the next step is to secure a cross sleeve grip on the same side arm of the heel that is being held.  To secure a controlling grip, Travis kicks his leg out wide and pulls the opponent's grip away from his pants.  To make sure his grip is the most secure he can establish, Travis uses an effective technique where he drives the knuckles of his hand in the same side thigh to strengthen the cross grip.

Once these grips are established, Travis will use his left foot or grip side foot in the opponent's hip to control the distance.  With his free right leg Travis can step on the thigh of the opponent forcing them to widen their base, putting them in a more precarious stance.

Once he is ready to sweep, he will use the free right leg to go between the thighs and hook the far leg of the opponent behind the knee, which encourages it to buckle slightly.  To create the fall of the opponent, he will push on the hip with the grip side foot.  This push on the hip and pull behind the knee will unbalance and drop the opponent to the mat.  By maintaining the strong cross sleeve grip, one is able to 'ride' up and begin to technically stand up allowing Travis to begin passing the guard.

This simple, yet classic sweep should be an essential piece of every BJJ player's playbook.  The simple act of unbalancing the opponent and using the push/pull motions of our legs can be effective at any level of competition.

For more of the essential techniques that every BJJ student should know and use as the foundation of an effective game plan, check out Travis Stevens' BJJ Basics:  The Complete Curriculum to Master the Fundamentals available from  You can get it here or at the Buy Now link below.





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