IntroA sweep is when you push, pull, reap, or hook an opponent’s support leg or legs causing him or her to lose balance and fall. When performed perfectly, it is a thing of beauty to see. One second the opponent is standing, the next second the opponent is lying on the mat. It may seem as if the thrower used very little movement or effort to affect the sweep. Sweeps can be used in almost any style of fighting where leg attacks are allowed.
Using a sweepThe foot sweep looks simple when you see it performed but, like everything else in personal combat, it is difficult to accomplish. Basically, you unweight the opponent’s foot or catch it during a weight shift and move it in one direction while simultaneously pulling or pushing the opponent’s upper body in the opposite direction, causing the opponent to lose balance and fall.
The sweep can be used as an attack or a counterattack. When an opponent is attacking, he or she is usually not thinking about the position of their feet.
Sweeps can be performed as either inside or outside attacks. An inside sweep sweeps the opponent’s foot by contacting the inside surface of his or her foot. Inside sweeps are usually used to spread the opponent’s base so wide that he or she loses balance. An outside sweep sweeps the opponent’s foot by contacting the outside of his or her foot. Outside sweeps usually used to lift the opponent’s lead foot during a mass shift so he or she loses balance.
Sweeps rely on timing. The sweep must occur at the precise moment the opponent’s mass is being shifted. If the sweep occurs too soon, the opponent’s mass is still over the other foot and the sweep will fail. If the sweep occurs too late, the opponent’s mass is will already be over the foot and the sweep will fail. However, even if the sweep fails, the opponent’s momentary loss of balance may expose him or her to a follow-up attack.