Advanced Waiter Sweep Options from Deep Half Guard: a BJJ Tutorial

Updated on September 28, 2016
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Andrew Smith is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs the BJJ Tutorial Encyclopedia here.

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About the Waiter Sweep

The "waiter sweep" has been fairly popular in BJJ competition for a number of years now, and it's a subset of the deep half guard. As a standalone technique, it's very hard to stop for the average jiu jitsu practitioner. However, after some time to adjust and adapt, your partner is likely to shut the sweep down in a fairly simple manner described below. We'll go over the basic waiter sweep mechanics along with a few much more advanced options you can use for even the most advanced grapplers, and come up in a good position to pass.

Basic Waiter Sweep Mechanics

The basic waiter sweep entry shown here arises when you're simply trying for a basic deep half guard entry. If, during the "leg swing", your partner decides to put their foot on the floor, this is the perfect time to enter into the waiter sweep potion. Start by lifting your hips up high, then reaching under your hips with your left arm (the arm that is closest to your feet). Be sure to keep your arm hidden and reach underneath instead of outside here, lest you get caught in an "El Gato" style Kimura. If you'd like to make the sweep more effective, you can try grabbing your own shin here and lifting your left elbow up (lifting your partner's foot further off the ground and off balancing them a lot more). You can come up in to a strong half guard pass position as you finish the sweep.

Two on One Sweep

This sweep picks up right at the end of the other sweep, after the entry into the waiter sweep position. This time, however, your partner is able to keep their balance far enough forward so that your waiter sweep simply doesn't work (as shown in the first seconds of the video). Switch your grip to the outside of their pants with your left hand, and to the belt with your right hand. From here, you can lift your partner's hips much higher up by lifting your hips up and straightening your arms upward. Once you have enough space to wedge your right knee to the front of your partner's right leg (as opposed to behind, as in the traditional waiter sweep position), you now have a "two on one" leg position, commonly used in X-guard as well. Simply change the direction of the sweep slightly and push with both legs, kicking your partner down to their butt. An easy and efficient way to pass the guard from here is to slide both legs under their legs to your left as shown.

Waiter Sweep to X-guard

I love this technique because of it's incredibly minimal movement and complete change in direction of attack. When you've gotten into the basic waiter sweep position as shown, simply execute the same elevating motion described previously (be sure to switch your grip to the outside of your partner's pants instead of underneath their leg). From here, keep your left foot on the same side where it currently is, but slide your knee underneath your partner's leg to the other side, creating a frame of sorts for your partner's leg. Now slide your right knee through to the front, creating a frame against the other leg. This gives you a variation on X-guard, and if you simply come forward as to stand up in base (or "technical stand up" as it is sometimes called), you can sweep virtually anyone.

Pendulum Sweep to Leg Drag

For this sweep, once again start with the traditional waiter sweep position followed by an outside pants grip and lift. This time, however, instead of switching to X-guard, keep your left leg where it is, but bring your right leg over to the other side of your partner's body. Next, swing your left leg in a circle (counterclockwise, in the video), creating momentum for your right leg (just like a "pendulum sweep" from closed guard). Your partner will have a great deal of momentum against their base here. When you come up on top, you can often end up directly in the "leg drag" position. It's also worth noting that this is a fantastic entry into the vaporizer position.

Waiter sweep variation - which is coolest?

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Deep Half Dreams

Deep half is an addictive position, and the waiter sweep series is among the most fun sequences to play from deep half guard. I will periodically spend an entire month going exclusively for this position just to see what I can come up with. Once you become proficient in the basics, you can come up with your own variations on the position as well. As always, don't be afraid to explore!

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      Andrew Smith 2 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Dave! It's always great to get feedback.

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      dave 2 years ago

      As someone who's been playing with the DHG recently, I found this to be a super helpful tutorial! The simple and short videos you linked were great too, keep up the good work!

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