Scissor sweep - knee drops or not?

Just before you scissor sweep someone, your shin should not be parallel to the ground, but at a 45 degree angle, right?

But JUST before you execute the sweep, should your knee drop down to the hip level of your opponent, i.e. should your shin be parallel to the ground at that moment in time?

In this case, before you execute the sweep, your shin is at a 45 degree angle and as soon as you manage to sucker your opponent into pressuring into you, you drop your knee down so that now your shin is parallel to the ground, and now you pull with your arms and scissor your legs to sweep him.

Do you agree that this is how you should do the scissor sweep?

I have heard guys advocate both methods. I just wanted to hear what you guys think. Are there any pros and cons to each method?



I'm mainly a 45 degree guy (knee in peck)....I usually get sprawled on if I go parallel to the floor.

I too have been shown both, the 45 degree one much more recently. The rationale has also been the same--danger of having someone sprawl and kill your top leg. That said, the original one still works for me pretty well, but I don't hang out with my shin parallel to the mat. Rather it goes there just before the sweep. The guys I have seen to the 45 well usually do not go parallel but sweep almost by kicking the armpit, if that makes any sense.

The key to both of these, of course, is to not attempt to scissor sideways but to throw/sweep your partner forward.


Everything John said.

John, are you still in Korea?

I def play it with knee in chest/pec. I also like to post on my elbow and drive into opponent to get some sort of forward reaction. You will get some sort of reaction as a grapplers warning light goes off when being pushed back while in your guard

Another point I have found helpful is wheen you sweep have your knee brushhing the mat but allow your lower leg to hook over the opponents calf and behind their knee.

I have learned that some guys ESP wrestlers are freakily good at doing hip switches in the air and reagaining their base..this will help prevent that.

A perfectly timed scissors sweep is so gratifying!

Thanks for good responses. I was just playing with it very lightly an hour ago against no resistance (couldn't, because of my knee injury) and I seemed to like it better NOT to drop my knee down just before the sweep. Maybe I'll change my mind later.

If anyone's interested, here's how Marcelo Garcia shows how to do the scissor sweep on his third instructional series:

This is shown without a gi from the spider guard variation in which you have your shins in the biceps and cup his triceps with both hands.

You basically scoot your hips out to one side and on that same side you raise your leg to lift under his armpit a bit. Your top leg will move into the scissor sweep position, i.e your shin is diagonally across his chest. Then you push with your other foot on his inner thigh/knee and extend your top leg to sweep him.

Marcelo does NOT drop his top knee just before the sweep, i.e. he keeps it at a 45 degree angle throughout the sweep..

By the way, I totally realize that people just have their own preferences on how to do thing, like this sweep. I'm just curious, like usual.



Hey Andre,

Yes, I'm still in Korea, and it looks like this time I may stay a while. I have a good job, my own academy (which I don't need money from and teach at 3x a week, leaving other days for me to train at other gyms), and a lot of cool guys here doing jiu jitsu/grappling. Also, being at a university allows me to get back to the States every winter and summer for about a month.

Take care,



Cool! Congrats, man! Do you speak Korean?

Next time you're in Cali, let me know. It'd be great to train with ya.

For no-gi I like the 45 degree.  If I am attempting the sweep I have head control and putting my knee on his solar plexus allows me to hold him tight in a push/pull fashion.  As long as you pull his weight forward and have your foot hooking the outside of his hip you will generate the same sweeping force without lowering your leg and making yourself vulnerable to a pass if the sweep fails.  To me the most important leg in the one on the floor.  Many people fail to keep that leg flat on the floor but instead try to sweep their leg higher up. 

"Many people fail to keep that leg flat on the floor but instead try to sweep their leg higher up."

I don't understand this. If your leg is flat on the floor, can't X just step over it into "scissor" half-guard?

When you do a scissor sweep the basic idea is that X's weight is brought forward off his lower body and you sweep his base out by making a high leg on his hip or waist go in the direction of the sweep and the low leg at floor level cut his base out going the opposite direction of the sweep.  The sweep works best if the low leg is literally at floor level rather than part way up the leg.

He shouldn't be able to step over that leg if you do the sweep quickly and have a grip on his wrist/arm on the sweeping side.  I don't keep my bottom leg at floor level pre-sweep but I make sure it is there as I apply the scissor motion.  Usually I have that foot on their hip until right before I do the sweep.

For the 45 degree version, I'm not totally sure about how I should pull my opponent forwards. You see, if I pull with my hand that's grabbing his head, my knee is sort of in the way :) Maybe someone can clarify this for me?

I push him away with the knee (by raising hips) and sweep as they come forward. (no doubt you already know this)

I've seen it both ways but like the 45 too

"I push him away with the knee (by raising hips) and sweep as they come forward"

But I was asking how you PULL.

I'm not really pulling much (maybe a little on his wrist) more like waiting for his reaction to my push...if he deosn't, I try to hip bump.

This is a brilliant thread...this is what this forum should be all about! Kudos to Jonpall!

In terms of how to pull I go with what shen said (this is illustrated very well on Margarita's instructional)

If you bring the top knee towards your own chest and keep his weight on that knee then HIS weight will be off his legs. I found after I added this detail the scissor sweep "started working"

Not sure how well this would work with the 45 degree angle but I'll try and mess about with it tonight!

Instead of holding your opponent's HEAD from the scissor guard/sweep position, does anyone here like to hold the TRICEP instead, i.e. the tricep on the same side as your "higher" leg is?

I was just thinking, that way, you can stop that arm from

  • removing your grip from his head (or lapel if it's gi),

  • get a quick ankle lock on you,

  • pass under that leg,

  • punching you (in MMA),

and basically stop bugging you as much.

Then you'd be doing the scissor sweep the way Marcelo Garcia does it (I described it above) and it will blend in nicely with the type of spider guard Nogueira uses in MMA, namely the both shins in biceps guard.

And ... I always found the problem with the Nogueira spider guard to be the fact that you're flat on your back, but now I'm seeing that you can get sidways with that guard as well to threaten with the scissor sweep. I'm seriously feeling that I just discoved a missing link between all the various types of guards I'm using and this link is both the shins in biceps guard and the scissor guard. Good times :)

But ttt for a comment on my above post.