Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a beautiful, complex, and intricate martial art. There are lots of subtle nuances to learn, and many of the more complex moves can take years to master (or even to understand). However, there are certain moves that you can start using almost immediately, and while you will almost certainly gain a much deeper understanding of these techniques over time, you will have plenty of knowledge in order to start using these particular techniques successfully upon beginning.
The "cheap sweep" in BJJ is just such a move. It is frequently the easiest sweep available, and here we'll look at a very, very simple version of this, along with slightly more sophisticated maneuvers you can work on.
The Concept of the Cheap Sweep
The main idea behind the cheap sweep is extremely simple and straightforward, and you can start using the concept immediately upon understanding it. For the simple version, start from a basic butterfly guard position, sitting in front of your partner in a relaxed manner. When you notice that your partner's weight isn't coming forward, but perhaps they happen to be leaning back just a hair, this is your opportunity to essentially stand in base (sometimes also called a "technical stand up") and push your partner over.
If you utilize a cross frame on their far shoulder, you should be able to manage the space while you hip out to the side (away from your frame). Next, simply stand in base while keeping your frame intact, then push your partner over. That's really the gist of the simple version of the sweep. For a more technical version, after framing, swim for the underhook, then change the angle so that you are slicing your knee across your partner, setting up a solid knee cut guard pass.
A Slightly More Technical Variation (Kind Of)
Another simple version of the cheap sweep involves starting from your knees and grabbing your partner's pants. Use the pants grip as an anchor of sorts, and then make the letter S with your legs, sliding them away from the pants grip that you have. Now use this position to elevate your partner's leg off the ground, and then simply come forward with your upper body, almost as though you are finishing an Omoplata.
There are two important details that can facilitate the sweep here. First, make sure that you post with your free arm in order to create a very wide base and to allow room for your legs to swivel into the initial S position. Second, use your head to drive your partner over, centering it right in the middle of their chest.
Side Hop Version
Another gi variation on this style of sweep involves utilizing a belt grip. Start with a traditional butterfly guard position, but be sure to grab the belt with your underhooking arm. From here, execute a technical stand up ("stand in base"), but use your free hand to post on the mat. You should be able to stay connected with your partner during this transition, never losing the initial tightness you have with your knee and shin area relative to your partner's thigh. Keeping your weight on both their belt and your partner's leg, hop around to the side, opposite of the way you'd pass the guard with a knee cut pass. This is a nice surprise move, too, for those looking to defend the knee cut version of the sweep.
A Simple Combination
If you already know the knee cut variation, you can use the side hop version described above to set up a dual attack of sorts. Start with that same belt grip and stand in base movement, but when you get there, you notice that your partner isn't allowing you to hop around their guard like before. Use this momentum and tension to switch back to the knee cut pass.
There are moves in jiu-jitsu that appear "cheap" in that they don't seem to involve overly complex or technical moves, or they're "too easy." These types of moves, provided they don't require a ton of muscle to execute, are exactly the type of moves you should seek out in training.
The cheap sweep is one such series of moves, and while the concept is incredibly fundamentally simple and relatively easy to understand, there are always additional details you can add which will no doubt arise from a better understanding. As always, please let me know how these techniques are working for you!
© 2017 Andrew Smith