The flower sweep is a technique that doesn’t get the popularity it deserves. Not only is this technique so effective when done correctly, but it also is visually more appealing and exciting to execute compared to other sweeps from the closed guard. There are many variations of this old school sweep and it can be done without the gi as well.
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I am not entirely sure why the flower sweep is given such a name, but I have also heard it by the name of pendulum sweep. I guess it just depends on where you are training. The flower sweep is one of very few techniques executed from the closed guard where the guard player has to grab the pants or legs.
The pants/leg grips allows the guard player to have better control over their opponent’s lower body, which is what provides the power for this great sweep. The flower sweep also requires a same side sleeve grip. With each grip on a different side of the top player’s body, the guard player will have the ability to rotate their opponent.
The reason you don’t see the flower sweep too often is that it can be difficult to finish against experienced opponents. In order for this sweep to actually work, the guard player has to surprise their opponent with it. The main issue here is that the second the guard player goes for a pants grip, the top player will recognize what the guard player is doing.
Defending the flower sweep can be done in multiple ways. The most common way of defending the flower sweep is by basing with the hand or elbow. If the guard player has a good grip, though, the defender shouldn’t be able to put their hand on the ground and is forced to use their other arm.
When the top player defends by basing out, they are essentially exposing that arm to various attacks, the easiest one being the arm bar. See below:
Although this technique appears to be very fancy and complex, it is actually not. The weirdest part about this arm bar is the final roll. Interestingly, the final roll isn’t necessary at all and you can actually finish the arm bar from an inverted position, which is preferred by many grapplers.
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