Half Guard Sweeps: Lockdown Masterclass

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The half guard is one of the top positions to stay safe while having attacking options in BJJ. It is a closed guard of sorts, but one that has much more to offer than the full guard. No wonder there are so many variations of the half guard out there. Half guard sweeps are among the highest percentage sweeps in the sport of Jiu-Jitsu. Despite also offering direct submission option, half guard sweeps are the best thing to go for from the position. Any half guard variation you choose has a sweep or a whole series of them attached to it. One of the best spots to hunt for a top position is definitely the Lockdown half guard. Today, we’ll run a masterclass of how to sweep from it in every direction, both with and without the Gi. 

Does playing more than one half guard offer you more sweeping techniques? Yes, it certainly does. However, mastering more than one variation fo half guard takes time. This means that grappling from multiple half guards is a strategy better suited to really advanced students, like brown and black belts. Sticking to one proven position is the safest approach for anyone lower than that. Master different half guard variations, sure, but do it one at a time. And, if you really want effectiveness with your half guard sweeps, start with the Lockdown.

The Lockdown is a very specific position of a closed circuit half guard that’s the product of Eddie Bravo. It is a staple of 10th PLanet Jiu-Jitsu and is one of their most recognizable contributions to BJJ. It is a very very effective variation of half guard that offers a very high level of safety and control.

Half Guard Sweeps 

Half guard sweeps are not easy techniques to master. The thing with the half guard is that your opponent is pretty much in the same position you are. this mirror positioning means that when you get on top, you might end up in their half guard if you’re not careful. This may lead to an infinite exchange of half guard sweeps, which is definitely not what you should be after.

Half guard sweeps need to be technical and precise. Finishing one shouldn’t land you in top half guard. Even if you know how to pass, it is not a real positional advancement. In fact, the bottom half guard might offer you more attacks. However, if you end up in a better position, like side control, mount or the back, it is an entirely different story. Half guard sweeps need to very deliberate and technical in order to provide you with an improved top position. Or, even better, a direct submission from such a position.

The Lockdown half guard provides you with certain means of a pass to at least side control after sweeping. In addition, it offers several sweeping variations. Each of these variations is going to land you in a more desirable top position. Not many half guard variations that work at all levels can claim to do the same.

The Butterfly Half Guard DVD ReviewTom DeBlass is one of the world’s utmost experts on the half guard. From knee shield to the lockdown, he is a master of them all. Now, he has a brand new video instructional out on a great modern half guard variation. Use the “Butterfly Half Guard” DVD set by Tom DeBlass to learn all that you can about this innovative and effective half guard variation.

Sweeping From The Lockdown 

The Lockdown is a very specific position that is not hard to obtain. The trickery with the Lockdown is in controlling the position. Unless you manage to control the Lockdown, there’s no point in trying to sweep anyway.

There’s a very specific and effective direct control over an opponent leg when you’re in the Lockdown. The position requires that your outside half guard leg helps wedge your inside leg under the opponent’s trapped leg. The best way to achieve this is to use hooks with both your feet. However, this is only a third of the puzzle.

The second third is battling for improved arm and torso position. Namely, unless you manage to control the inside space, all you’ve achieved is preventing a guard pass. And staying static means that this will only be a temporary thing. So, getting underhooks, or any sort of inside position with your grips is essential to any Lockdown success.

Finally, there are no Lockdown half guard sweeps without precise and appropriate movement. From the Lockdown, that means, manipulating the opponent’s center of gravity. this is best done through hip control, which you have through the trapped leg. Once you manage to take your opponent’s base away by shifting their center of gravity, you can look to sweep in multiple directions.

Underhook Sweep

As far as half guard sweeps go, every half guard has a variation of the single underhook sweep. It works, it is easy to understand and it is notoriously hard to defend against. Doing it form the Lockdown offers a whole new level of sweeping your opponent with ease.

Lockdown Half Guard Sweeps From the Lockdown half guard position, the toughest battle is that of underhooks. If you can get only one, then always go for an underhook on the side of the trapped leg. This will allow you to increase your control over that side of your opponent’s body. It will also provide you with the needed leverage to successfully get a sweep. However, sweeping is not as straightforward as getting the underhook. You’ll need to make sure your underhook is placed deep and that you’re lying on your side. Extend your legs to take away the opponent’s base and get to your knees. From there, open the Lockdown and grab the far side foot at the toes. One push and you end up in side control, or, with a little creativity, in the mount.

Plan B Sweep

The plan B sweep comes into play when your opponent is wise to the underhooks sweep. Not that you’ll still get plenty of people with the single underhook sweep thanks to the Lockdown. However, since it is one of the most common half guard sweeps, do expect opponents to be wary of it. One natural reaction is for the opponent to place a Whizzer around your underhook.

Lockdown Half Guard Sweeps While in most other half guard variations this might be a problem, in the Lockdown it is a gift. The control over the leg, and inherently, the hips, allows you to relax even when Whizzered. Instead of abandoning your sweep attempt, simply switch your grips while maintaining the lockdown. Your underhook arm is now going to grab the wrist of the Whizzer arm. As you place that arm close to your chest, underhook the far leg with your other arm and simply rotate your hips all the way to the other side.

Electric Chair

The electric chair is the most notorious and well known Lockdown sweep there is. It does require some work to get into position, but once you have it, there’s simply no way of defending it. Even better, it ties right into the previous two sweeps, meaning you can switch back and forth until you manage to end up on top.

Lockdown Half Guard Sweeps The electric chair requires you to have two underhooks in from a basic Lockdown position. Once you have them, you’ll need to get your opponent’s base-wide so that you can underhook the far leg. The motion that accomplishes this is the “whip up” where you whip your legs towards you in order to elevate the opponent’s hips. Once there, you can go to the side you want to attack from. As the opponent lands, establish the underhook on their thigh. Use the other arm to gable grip over the thigh, and roll towards the other side. You’ll end up in an over-under pass-like position that can lead straight to the mount. Or, you can finish right there with a banana split.

Lapel Sweep

Half guard sweeps from the Lockdown are also possible with the Gi. The position is designed for MMA and No-gi Jiu-Jitsu, initially, but it can work with the Gi as well. Even better, the Gi allow grips and anchors that are not at your disposal otherwise.

Lockdown Half Guard Sweeps The best Lockdown sweep with the gi is actually a combination of all three sweeps above. You want to have a single underhook in but you also want an underhook on the thigh. The underhook should look to grip the lapel on the opposite side of your opponent’s torso. This makes it extremely uncomfortable for them and completely immobilizes the opponent. Underhooking the leg means you completely have their base and posture. The direction of sweeping is the same as the Plan B sweep.

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