Unlocking the Power of the Pendulum Sweep in BJJ

The pendulum sweep is an effective BJJ technique for gaining advantages over your opponent. It is especially effective in high-level jiu-jitsu competitions.

This sweep is a great way to add variety to your jiu-jitsu game. It is achievable from multiple positions, including the closed guard. Continue reading to learn more about the BJJ pendulum sweep and its variations and transitions. Stay tuned!

What Exactly Is the Pendulum Sweep in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

The Pendulum Sweep is a technique used by practitioners to create an imbalance in an opponent and gain an advantageous position using a swinging motion of the legs.

This is a popular move among grapplers due to its power and the mechanical advantages it provides.

One of the foundational techniques taught in the early stages of BJJ, the pendulum sweep helps the practitioner—from a closed guard—disrupt their opponent’s base and quickly move to a dominant mount.

Its effectiveness and flexibility make it an indispensable move in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The Mechanics of the Pendulum Sweep BJJ

It’s essential to have a thorough comprehension of the mechanics of the pendulum sweep to properly execute it in BJJ. If these subtleties are mastered, the seemingly straightforward technique can become a work of art.

The proper use of a pendulum sweep requires coordination between the practitioner’s hips, legs, and grips.

When the right equilibrium, rhythm, and strength are achieved, this technique can be used against opponents of varying dimensions and expertise, making it a very useful technique in any BJJ practitioner’s arsenal.

How to Do The Pendulum Sweep in Jiu-jitsu?

A BJJ student could do a successful jiu-jitsu pendulum sweep by following these steps.  

  1. Reach a closed guard position and maintain it using good grips.
  2. Control your opponent’s sleeve using one of your hands while maintaining full guard.
  3. Use the action-reaction principle to force your opponent to move to break his posture and unbalance his weight.
  4. Use your free hand to hook your opponent’s leg while employing your other hand to block the other opponent’s side.
  5. Now, use your leg (near the opponent’s controlled leg) to make a kick and, at the same time, rotate your hips and scissors your legs in a way that the opponent will at the end of his back.

Through the following video, you’ll get more details about the Brazilian jiu-jitsu pendulum sweep and how to perform it properly.

Source: Chewjitsu

The Key Elements for a Successful Pendulum Sweep

Below are some pivotal points you should be aware of to execute the pendulum sweep correctly.

Effective Grips

Having the right grips is integral to properly performing the pendulum sweep. Not only do they enable you to keep hold of your adversary, but they also allow you to direct the sweep and overthrow your foe’s balance. So, how can you make sure you have the right grips?

Getting the proper grip entails taking hold of the opponent’s arm on the same side as the sweep and keeping a grip on the other leg. This pairing forms a force that hinders the opponent from staying upright, paving the way for a successful sweep.

Effective Hip Movement

The pendulum sweep BJJ is not just restricted to using hands and feet. It is an entire body technique that requires the usage of the hips.

The hip motion has the potential to throw off even the most grounded opponent due to the strength generated by the swinging motion.

Your hips should sway back and forth like a pendulum; this is where the name comes from. Through the combination of your grips and this movement, you can create a force that will make it hard for your adversary to stay upright.

Effective Leg Movements

The hips provide the power, but the legs direct it and guide the sweeping motion. The leg on the same side as the arm being used moves in a pendulum-like motion, while the other bends at the knee and propels the body forward, increasing the sweeping momentum.

It is very important to know how to move your legs for a successful pendulum sweep. The coordination of these leg movements is essential for you to move into a position of power.

Perfect Timing

The pendulum sweep relies heavily on the element of surprise; you must catch your opponent off-guard and capitalize on their lack of equilibrium.

Timing is of the utmost importance in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and this is especially true for this particular technique. When your opponent is trying to pass your guard or is posturing up, it’s the ideal time to try a pendulum sweep.

During this moment, their weight is off-balance and a quick, precise pendulum sweep can topple them, thereby allowing you to sweep and shift to the mount.

Pendulum Sweep Variations

A Jiu-Jitsu Practitioner can create many variations of the pendulum sweep depending on how he controls the opponent’s upper body.

Thus, some jiu-jitsu practitioners rely on holding the sleeve. but others use the deep underhook or the arm drag to perform the same technique, which creates many ways to do the jiu-jitsu pendulum sweep.

Here are four resilient pendulum sweep variations from the closed guard, have fun!

Sleeve control Pendulum Sweep

Through the above video, you’ll find more information on how to do the closed guard pendulum sweep from the Sleeve control till the end. Source: The Grappling Academy

Axe Pendulum Sweep

Chewjitsu explains in the above video how to do the pendulum sweep from the axe hand control till the end. Source: Chewjitsu

Arm Drag Pendulum Sweep

Find an excellent pendulum sweep variation in the above video that starts with an arm-drag movement. Source: Brandon Quick

Flying Pendulum Sweep

The video above presents another incredible pendulum sweep variation called the flying pendulum sweep. Source: Knight Jiu-Jitsu

Pendulum Sweep Attack Transitions

The pendulum sweep player has several excellent transitions; here are some:

Pendulum Arm Bar from Closed Guard

The closed guard offers many transitions and submissions for any subtle jiu-jitsu practitioner.

Therefore, when you’re there, you can size a triangle choke, kimura, armbar, omoplata, or loop choke … or you can sweep your opponent using various BJJ sweeps, including the Pendulum sweep.

Here is how to perform the no-gi pendulum sweep armbar.

In the video above, you’ll learn to do the No-Gi pendulum sweep armbar by Lachlan Giles. Source: Absolute MMA St Kilda

Here is how to do the pendulum sweep armbar in Gi jiu jitsu.

Learn from the video above to perform the BJJ Gi pendulum sweep armbar. Source: The Grappling Academy

Pendulum Sweep to Omoplata Pendulum

In the video above, you’ll learn to do the omoplata pendulum sweep in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Source: BJJ Fanatics

Pendulum Sweep to Triangle Submission

The video above gives you the necessary information to size a triangle choke while performing the BJJ pendulum sweep. Source: The Grappling Academy

Common Mistakes in Executing Pendulum Sweep BJJ

Common errors made when using the pendulum sweep can hinder its effectiveness. Knowing what to avoid can help you get the most out of this technique.

Failing to address your opponent’s posture before trying to sweep, insufficient hip movement and ineffective use of the legs can all lead to a substandard pendulum sweep.

Identifying and rectifying these issues will help you hone your technique and ensure successful execution.

How to Counter the Pendulum Sweep BJJ

Having a good grip defense is just as critical to know as how to perform the pendulum sweep technique. To block it, it’s essential to have a solid base and stop the opponent from achieving the needed holds to make the sweep successful.

Pendulum Sweep Vs Flower Sweep

You’ll understand the difference between flower sweep and pendulum sweep in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and when to use them through the video above. Source: Chewjitsu

The pendulum and flower sweeps are two great techniques in Brazilian jiu-jitsu that can be done from the closed guard. Moreover, these two sweeps have a similar setup with a few distinctions.

The difference between flower sweep and pendulum sweep is that while doing the flower sweep, the BJJ fighter needs to grab the opponent’s leg, open the closed guard and swing his legs so far to unbalance his opponent.

However, in the pendulum sweep, the fighter must hook the opponent inside and underneath him. Then, he opens the guard and swings his legs to unbalance his opponent.

Source: Invisible Jiu-Jitsu


The Pendulum Sweep in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a perfect example of the cleverness and inventiveness that makes this sport so unique.

This move embodies the core belief of BJJ, which is ‘maximum results with minimum effort’, by taking advantage of leverage and momentum to bring down an adversary.

The Pendulum Sweep BJJ is not only a technique but a crucial component of the BJJ player’s arsenal that can determine the outcome of a match.

Whether you are training or engaged in a competition, Gi or No-Gi, deploying the Pendulum Sweep can be a total game-changer.

Related: Begin your BJJ career confidently as you learn the essential techniques and movements that every beginner should know. This article reveals the basic moves and techniques to help improve your game so far.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is the Pendulum Sweep BJJ So Effective?

Pendulum Sweep BJJ is beneficial because it takes advantage of leverage and momentum. The practitioner can use their hips and legs to generate a powerful force, which can cause their opponent to lose balance and thereby make it easier to sweep them.

Can the Pendulum Sweep BJJ Be Used Against Larger Opponents?

Using the Pendulum Sweep BJJ against someone bigger is possible because it relies on leverage and momentum rather than strength, meaning it works against foes of any size.

How Can I Improve My Pendulum Sweep BJJ?

Getting better at Pendulum Sweep BJJ necessitates practicing and comprehending the technique’s fundamentals. Practicing frequently, taking advice from seasoned instructors, and reading instructional texts are all great ways to get better at sweeping.

Can the Pendulum Sweep BJJ Be Used in MMA?

The Pendulum Sweep BJJ is a useful maneuver in MMA, enabling a fighter to shift from a protective stance to a superior one, thus providing a great addition to a fighter’s techniques.

Are There Variations of the Pendulum Sweep Bjj?

There are several alternative forms of the Pendulum Sweep BJJ. These different versions can be used to suit various scenarios and opponents to best take advantage of the basic pendulum sweep technique.

Can the Pendulum Sweep BJJ Be Used to Set Up Submissions?

The Pendulum Sweep BJJ can provide a pathway to submissions. After pulling off the sweep, the user can shift to a superior position, from which various submissions can be attempted.

Scroll to Top