At the moment as a groundwork beginner, I’m interested in sweeps, in part probably because they’re similar to throws. Taking someone’s balance and moving them through space is more interesting to me than locks. I hope I can get a multiplier effect on my cross-training in judo, bjj, and throws from internal arts. This particular move also fits the maxim of “position before submission”. I don’t know many subs and don’t need to until I can get some good movement going. The sweep often seems to start from open guard of some kind, which also makes sense because my legs are short and with big (also read: fat) training partners, closed guard is at times a non-starter.

To learn how to go from position A to B, I’m not too interested in learning a lot of guard variations and all the possibilities yet. For now I’d like to think in terms of getting to a certain position and use whatever arm/leg formation happens to be available because often the kind of guard I can get is whatever is there. As a beginner I can only keep track of a few move ideas in my head so if I want to get to say, kimura, I need to know the position I need. Working backward from there I need to know how to get there from various other positions. It’s easier for me to think in a simplistic way: “I want to get from A to B” than to think “From B or C or D, I can go to these two dozen places”. Everyone seems to advise a rough 80/20 rule where at least 80% of a game is from 20% of moves – the basics. That is fine with me. The variety of moves can come over time.

I’m not 100% sure this is right but it seems right from common sense. I wish in books they would group all the pictures by move similarity rather than starting position of a particular guard or a particular position vis a vis your training partner or opponent. That is the same problem with pulling some isolated posture out of an internal arts form and saying there are a dozen uses. It pulls things out of the overall context too much. A basic chess learning approach of opening moves, midgame, and endgame seems more helpful. If I have some limited end moves in mind, I need to know how to get there from a few different starting positions. A particular guard is meant to be a transient midgame state to move us along to something else. People seem to like to teach a lot of attacks from particular guards but that seems like an intermediate lesson. On the other hand, guard passes are variations of getting to a different position. I would like to see groupings of sweeps, reversals, guard recovery, chokes, etc., all from different variations of guard or snapshots of what’s happening for the bottom position as a result of a few variations of a guard pass. Is there a book or website organized like that already and I just don’t know? Probably. If not, or maybe in any case, at some point, I’ll try to post pictures with this kind of grouping to help my memory and maybe speed up my learning of move variations.

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