A Chat with Daniel Pollaccia at Mastermind Martial Arts

We recently had a chance to chat with Daniel Pollaccia, head instructor of Mastermind Martial Arts in Hesperia, California.

We just released a brand new instructional with Daniel covering one of the most effective half guard sweeps, the twist sweep, aka the John Wayne/Giggler/crowbar sweep - geez this sweep has gone by a lot of names!

Most half guard players have some level of familiarity with this sweep but in this instructional Daniel really goes into all of the small details that make this sweep work, or prevent it from working. Daniel covers solo drills, various options depending on your opponents reaction, what to when your sweep gets shut down, and more. There's no more complete coverage of this sweep anywhere else.

Budo: Daniel, thank you for taking the time chat with us today. Can you share a little about how you got into jiujitsu?

Daniel: I was training kickboxing at a gym that also offered jiu jitsu, all of my friends were in the jiu jitsu class and kept bugging me to try it. I had tried it a year before and didn't really like it. But once they convinced me to try again, I became obsessed with it. That was June 2003.

B: When and how diid you first come across the twist sweep?

D: I first came across the twist sweep when I saw someone hit it in an MMA fight against Andre Galvao. He kept hitting it over and over, so I watched the fight multiple times to break down exactly what he was doing. Then i started playing with it in training and had immediate success.

B: You have long legs, do you think that’s an advantage for this sweep?

D: Long legs are never a disadvantage when going for this sweep, they give me a little more leverage, but I've had short stocky guys who were good at this sweep hit it on me, so it works just as well with shorter legs.

B: Obviously this is a half guard sweep. Do you think half guard is a good place to be? Different people have different opinions on that.

D: Half guard I've always viewed as half mount, you're literally a few inches away from achieving mount, so  when on bottom, I approach it like that as well. No one wants to be mounted so we fight like hell not to get there, so if I am in half mount( half guard) , I'm going to fight like hell to reverse the position as quickly as possible. That's the best way to attack this or any sweep.

B: What do you love most jiujitsu?

D:  I love the bonds that form from jiu jitsu, building skill and getting a great workout are by products of training, but the brotherhood and bonds that form are irreplaceable. I've become best friends with many of my training partners and even former opponents. And those bonds usually last a lifetime once they are formed.

B: What do you like least about jiujitsu?

D: The drama and the politics of the game are what I like least about jiu jitsu and martial arts in general, I am good friends with most of the gyms in my area so a lot of guys from other gyms come thru mine and vice versa, my guys will go over to other gyms, no one  cares because we are training and improving skills. I don't like the insecure instructors who forbid their students to go other places. It's all about growth and improvement and as long as everyone respects each other at the end of the day and each person you train with knows what role they play, it's a beautiful thing.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today Daniel! And thank you loyal readers who made it all the way to the bottom of this post. Now please be sure to go take a look at Daniel's instructional "Twist Sweep the World"!


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