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Two Sweeps You Need From Closed Guard

Two Sweeps You Need From Closed Guard


The closed guard is one of the most popular guards in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA.  There is good reason for this popularity.  The closed guard has long been considered the foundation of the guard.  We recently wrote an article breaking down why many people perceive the closed guard as the foundation of the guard, check it out here. 

The closed guard offers so many option to the Jiu Jitsu player, you can sweep your opponent, take their back, use a myriad of submissions and set up plenty of other guards.  Some people tend to overlook the power of the closed guard and consider it basic.  Why would anybody consider such a dominant position basic?  Probably because they associate the closed guard with something beginners learn.

Throughout the years of bjj competition we have seen the closed guard utilized at the highest levels by some of the best competitors.  Some of these names include, Roger Gracie, Xande Ribeiro, Saulo Ribeiro, Rafael Lovato, and Andre Galvao.  All these guys have won multiple black belt world championships. 

Today, we are going to look at some extremely simple and powerful sweeps from the closed guard.  These sweeps work in gi, no gi, MMA, and self-defense.  One of the biggest benefits of the closed guard is the versatility.  You can find success with it in gi, no gi, MMA, and self-defense.  If you want to see some cool submissions check out our article on “Two Submissions You Need from The Closed guard,” but without further ado let’s see some closed guard sweeps!

 Butterfly/Elevator Sweep from Falcon Guard by Joel Bouhey

We are going to look at an old school sweep with Joel Bouhey.  Joel has developed a devastating closed guard game that is functional for MMA, self-defense, gi and no gi.   This system is all about a way to grip your opponent in the close guard so that you can control one of their arms and keep their posture broke.  He calls this control the “Falcon Control.”  Joel is a black belt under Luis Heredia.  Luis Heredia is one of Rickson Gracie’s black belts and has been referred to as Rickson Gracie’s hitman.  Joel has a very great perspective on making old school sweeps effective against new school guys.  Check out this sweep below.

As you can see in the video above Joel is using a rear naked choke grip to control his opponent’s posture.  This method of control is amazing for any situation.  This sweep is referred to as an elevator sweep or a butterfly sweep by some.  What you are doing is creating space and getting your butterfly hook underneath your opponent’s knee/hamstring.   This situation occurs because your opponent is pushing into you because they can’t posture so their leg cause of the ground.  They end up in a combat base while still in your closed guard.

If their leg is far away you can just put your butterfly hook in immediately like Joel states, but if they sit their leg up tight to you, you need to create space.  Joel goes over some crucial details about getting your hook in if their leg is close.  You start by pushing them away with your hamstring, then you use you shin/calf to make more space and eventually you can sneak your hook in for the sweep.

Another detail that is paramount for success is that if you are not able to get the sweep initially to open your elbow so that it is directly on their face.  As you start to sweep your opponent flare your elbow into their face to make them look towards where you are sweeping them.  Where the head goes the body tends to follow.  If you can push their head with your elbow while you have the hook and are sweeping this makes the butterfly sweep extremely powerful.

Something to note is that this control works well for many “old school” sweeps.  As Joel mentioned in the video you can use this control to have a new take on a lot of old sweeps.  For example, you can use this for the scissor sweep, the pendulum sweep, the over head sweep, the knee kick, and many other old favorites.  Let’s look at another sweep with this control where Joel goes overhead.

Overhead Sweep from Falcon Guard by Joel Bouhey

This time we are going to look at another sweep from this Falcon Control with Joel Bouhey.  This time it is going to be a very simple and effective overhead sweep, Joel is also going to give us a few more details on how to get into this falcon control and why he uses it.  Let’s look at the video below and then we will do a breakdown.

As you can see in the video above Joel talks about why he does bot use the traditional head and arm control that many of us are taught from closed guard.  He elaborated on why it is imperative to connect your hands someway.  The traditional control is great but when you are going against somebody at a higher level, you want to connect your hands.  

Furthermore, when you get into this falcon control you will see a myriad of different reactions and based off those reactions you will be able to do a lot of different sweeps.  If your opponent stands up in your guard and you have this control their posture will be so broken that you will be able to hit this weep easily. 

All that Joes is doing when his opponent stands is placing his feet on their hips.  This allows you to carry a lot of weight on your legs.  Think about it, how much can you leg press?  Much more then your own body weight.  So anytime you are able to elevate your opponent using your legs it is easy.  After he gets the legs on the hips he continues to go over head.

So there you have it, two sweep you need to learn from the closed guard.  If you want to develop your “Falcon Control” more, Joel Bouhey has an entire DVD called the “Falcon Guard.”  In this DVD Joel goes over how to use this control do put an advanced and new school take on old school basic sweeps.  This is a great DVD for anyone and will help you see new details on old moves!


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