The waiter sweep is a popular technique that originates from the half guard, specifically the deep half guard. This sweep allows the bottom player to go from a potentially defensive position to a dominant top position. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform the waiter sweep:

Waiter Sweep from Deep Half Guard

  1. Establish Deep Half Guard:
    • Starting from half guard, work to get under your opponent so that you’re almost completely beneath them. This means their leg should be over your shoulder and your head should be near their knee. You’ll be on your side, looking up at them.
  2. Control the Leg:
    • With the arm that’s furthest from your opponent, reach under and grip the back of their thigh or their belt. This is your primary control for the sweep.
  3. Free Your Other Arm:
    • Your other arm, which is closer to your opponent’s head, should be tucked in to prevent them from attacking it. When you’re ready to initiate the sweep, this arm will need to reach through and grab their far foot or ankle.
  4. Elevate and Rotate:
    • Use your legs and the arm controlling their thigh to elevate your opponent’s leg up and over your head, essentially aiming to stack them over their shoulders.
    • As you elevate, the name “waiter sweep” becomes clear as you’ll look like a waiter holding a tray (their leg being the tray).
  5. Reach for the Far Foot:
    • As you start to get them off balance and elevate their leg, reach with your free hand to control their far foot or ankle. This prevents them from basing out with that foot.
  6. Complete the Sweep:
    • With control of both their near thigh and far foot, bridge your hips and rotate them towards the mat, ending up on top. Ideally, you’ll land in a strong passing position or even directly into mount.
  7. Secure Top Position:
    • As with any sweep, it’s crucial to stabilize your top position to prevent them from immediately countering or escaping. Establish good control, whether it’s side control, mount, or another dominant position.


  • Hip Movement: The key to the waiter sweep, and many sweeps in BJJ, is effective hip movement. Ensure that you’re not just using your arms, but your entire body to off-balance and sweep your opponent.
  • Leg Position: Keeping your legs actively controlling and off-balancing your opponent is essential. Make sure one leg is hooking theirs while the other can assist in elevating them.
  • Be Aware of Counters: An opponent familiar with the waiter sweep might try to counter by basing out, cross-facing you, or attacking the arm that’s reaching for the far foot. Always be ready to adjust or switch to another technique.

As always, while a textual explanation provides a conceptual understanding, this move, like all BJJ techniques, is best learned under the guidance of a qualified instructor who can provide hands-on instruction and corrections.