Dec 22

How You Can Counter Half Guard Sprawl Passes

Given a very specific situation, this is a series of counter options based on the progression of a technique. Before you watch it, you should check out the original half guard pass. After that, look at the counters and study them. Do you perceive any issues or vulnerabilities? If you do, highlight them. It’s not going to hurt my ego. Everything can be re-evaluated and improved upon.

Half Guard Sprawl Pass

Half Guard Sprawl Pass Counters

Hip Switch Counter


  • Once your opponent weaves their hand between your knees, they have given your their base on one side. All you have to do is prevent them from correcting that by controlling that hand. Without that control, you’ll only be able to off balance them unless their reaction is slow.
  • With the arm controlled, all you have to do now is generate enough leverage to tilt them towards the side where they have no base. That’s where the hip switch comes into play. The movement is basically a small bridge and hard hip switch from left to right or right to left. Posting on your free elbow will also help with the initial bridge.
  • From there, it’s just matter of transitioning into your preferred side control position. There’s also an opportunity to do a bicep crusher in the transition, if you actually use that submission.

Scissor Sweep Counter


  • The goal this time is to cut off your opponent’s ability to base on the other side. This time, the task is a little harder because you have to control both the far arm and the far knee.
  • Getting that far knee grip can be difficult sometimes depending how tight your opponent’s gi is. One little trick you can use to adapt for that possibility is to use your top leg to elevate your opponent’s hips. It will increase the amount of slack in their gi which will make the grip easier.
  • After that, just pull the knee in and pull the arm then it’s a standard scissor motion. One thing is that the focus should be on the top leg first. You want to partially move your opponent’s hip away from you, which will shift their weight off of their trapped leg.  With less weight on the leg, it will easier to straighten that leg.
  • As you sweep, you should try to push their far knee between your legs. That small thing is what makes the mount transition possible.


Since these counters are broken down by when they’re possible in the progression of a specific technique, it should be easy to get a sense of the timing involved.


I picked up the half guard hip switch counter from Cyborg’s Guard Instructional. The first time, I saw it, it clicked for me right away. It was just so simple that it almost seemed silly. I’ve been using it for a few years now, and it’s proven itself to be highly effective as well.

For the half guard scissor sweep counter, I think I saw on Caio Terra’s Half Guard Set. I’m not sure. It may have also just been something that I picked up at Crazy 88. I’m leaning toward the first possibility though.