Ever wanted to be in a fight scene of an action movie? You can do so with one of the most tactical moves in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu which is the John Wayne Sweep. To do this sweep, you would need to know about the half guard position as you would be transitioning to the sweep from this position. The sweep is also a good compliment to the underhooks in case they fail, the underhooks can make all the difference whether your guard succeeds or not. Nevertheless, in case they don’t go according to plan, performing the John Wayne sweep can really throw your opponents off balance and give you a dominant position over them. Half guards work here because your opponent’s main goal is to pass or break your defense, so you will be finding yourself in this position quite often. Ideally, you would want to stay on the offensive as well as there is a disadvantage in maintaining constant guard throughout the match. Hence, transitioning is very important, read below to find out more.
John Wayne Sweep
Transitioning from the Half Guard
One of the best moves to transition to the John Wayne sweep is the half guard; it proves ample protection and free movement to allow for the execution of various moves. The dynamic and powerful position that the half guard provides makes it one of the most versatile guards to be learned by any practitioner of BJJ. There are many sweeps or submissions that you can transition to from a half guard, one of the easiest moves to perform that will throw an opponent off balance is the John Wayne sweep. The sweep got its name from the fight scenes in popular old Cowboy moves where they would disorient the opponent and roll over them; the John Wayne sweep does the same thing when it is performed in a match of BJJ.
Now going back to the half guard, many people from the lower belts level find it difficult to perform the sweeps. The half guard sweeps are usually more intensive than closed guard sweeps but they are not that complicated to perform. However, they do require a lot of practice and training before you can perform a perfected sweep. Learning to transition towards grapples or sweeps from the half guard is a very valuable skill to have just because of the versatility alone and one of the easiest transitions you can do is the John Wayne sweep.
Executing the John Wayne Sweep
To properly do the move, you need to be in a position where you have an underhook on your opponent. If they perform any move to stop attacks from the back, you would need to turn your arm in such a way to lock their arms so that they can’t disengage so easily. With your other arm being free, block any attempts that target your face. Now that you are in a secure position, open your guard and partially retract one leg while keeping the other one on top. Move your bottom knee so that your foot and shin are just barely over the opponent’s ankle then roll over to apply pressure. Lastly, use the free knee to move up your leg like a lever and use the other leg to generate the power to perform the sweep with force. Make sure that you keep your upper body properly balanced on top of your opponent so that they remain locked down; do so in such a way that you do not exhaust much of your stamina and reserve energy.
The John Wayne sweep is a great and easy move to gain the upper hand after a half lock, it works wonders even against larger opponents. The key thing to consider is the use of free shin as a tool to overpower the other person, regardless of their weight.