T Nation

Half Guard

I don’t really know how to ask my question, so I’m going to babble a bit and hopefully you all will put up with it.

So, I’ve gotten to a point in my game where I’m seeing positions as permutation of the same thing. For example the bottom of side control is just like being in the bottom of mount, the same general ideas apply. To get out of it, you connect your knee and your elbow, and make them adjust their base until you control their center of gravity. I see how the positions flow together.

I’ve learned a lot of moves, and am now working on seeing the underlying similarities between everything to make it so that if things aren’t exactly like they were when we learned the move, I can make adjustments and still get what I want.

I’m having a lot of trouble doing this with half guard though, for some reason when I’m the bottom of half guard, I can never seem to get anywhere but tapped or passed. So, I was kinda wondering if you all had any insight on half guard. What’d you like to do from there? how do you move? What is it just like to you? I don’t know, I guess babble a bit about half guard and give me some insight into the position.

I’m not exactly a great BJJ practitioner and I’ve been noticing some struggle with the half guard as well. Last week my instructor told me, that as a smaller guy, I should play a more conservative game and try to avoid the half guard on bottom. Whereas, if you’re more evenly matched, you can be a lot more successful with pulling half guard to sweep.

What’s been working for me so far is…
Start with the lock down. Everyone’s pretty much figured out how to get out of it now, but it buys you some time to get your head and arms where you want them to be. It also keeps the guy on top from sliding too far up, which makes passing a lot easier. If you can sit up in someone’s half guard, there’s not much the bottom guy can do to stop you from passing or spinning for a knee bar. Rewinding a sec, whatever you do don’t let the guy on top posture up. Making sure you’ve got their leg tight is critical.

http://austinjiujitsu.com/ajj/pictures/Techniques/Lock-down-with-underhooks.jpg

From there, the classic half guard sweep or my default is to try to shrimp/make space/push their hip thigh/ and then kick my leg under to reclaim guard. If you’re slick and they’re not paying attention so they don’t have their body/head across yours, you can swing your outside leg around the back to their outside leg and escape/take their back. It’s an extremely low percentage move, but it sometimes happens as guys try to move up.

I’m interested to hear from guys with a good half guard game and if there’s a specific strategy they use.

Half guard, as with all other positions, is about starting in a decent position.

  1. You really need the underhook. The “far-side” (arm furthest from your opponent) underhook is a main goal of the top man, it should be a main goal of yours to prevent him from getting it and to get one of your own.

  2. Do not be flat on your back. You should be on your hip facing your opponent.

Now, those two keys are really important for many half-guard sweeps, but your opponent knows that too. He will try to nullify those keys. The defenses to that are many, that’s the whole game. Here is a good instructional I found that talks about some basic concepts and gives some good techniques to start. Once you get a sweep that you love, let’s say the ankle pick (“Old School” to your Eddie Bravo disciples), master it. Your training partners, and other opponents will know counters. How they counter will dictate what sweep you hit them with next. And on goes the chain. Anyway, good luck. That link goes to his page for BJJ techniques in general. Search around for the ones that apply to your problems.

http://www.aesopian.com/category/bjj-videos/

ive got long legs. i typically try for a butterfly half so i can threaten the sweep or elevate my opponent in order to replace guard…my favorite by far…half guard is the one position i will never stay static in - too easy to pass in my opinion to play a passive game. some guys can get a good lockdown (ie-stall) but they’re basically locking their hips to my hips and ensuring they wont progress unless they start getting on their side and threaten with some kind of sweep.

I love half-guard, you’ve got so many options from there.

Sweeps, leg locks, easy transitions do stand-up and you can get back to your guard if anything goes wrong.

I’ve been trying to do the same as you pch2. I’ve been playing some halfguard lately from an offensive point of view. I am normally a guardplayer but want to expand the game.

I have found these 2 things from the utmost importance:

1 = NEVER stay static, keep pushing his hips up, shrimp out to make space or grab underhooks to his legs to stall and work for the old skool sweep (be careful for the D’arce choke though)

2 = Try working for the back if you are a smaller and more mobile person like me. I’m pretty small at 170 pounds and I am very flexible, so if you go for the old skool sweep don’t be afraid to push up your top arm all the way to make room for your head to push through and follow up to the back.

I hope you understand what I am trying to explain here.

you guys should think of bottom half guard like you do full…there are subs to be had, but position before submission and I leave you with this

and

pfft…lock down sweep

electric chair…

I acnt see the videos right now, but you guys bring up some interesting ideas. I’m not tall (5’5), and I’m not strong (well I’m strong for a girl, but I’m still a girl) so I have to be all about technique. Thinking about transitioning to a butterfly hook is something I’ll try. I was rolling no gi last night and the guy I was rolling with kept hooking my leg and trying butterfly guard sweeps. He didn’t get them, but it was really annoying to deal with.

I’ve really been working on staying on my side. It’s just odd because the movement of staying on my side gives me less of a hold on his leg. I’ve been thinking about it wrong though, it’s not a matter of keeping him close at that point is it? I should focus on keeping distance and getting him away from my hips. That whole point of the lockdown giving him my base was really insightful, thanks man.

That stupid underhook! I have got to drill immediately hiding that arm, once it’s away from my body I have no chance of getting it back. I just get really worried about protecting my face. I really can’t stand that shoulder to the face pressure, the bruise sucks ass too. I guess if I create distance immediately, they won’t be able to apply that pressure.

I’ll check out the vids tonite.

Thanks!

I like to think of half guard as being half way through an elbow escape. I know people are finishing from there but to me itâ??s a transition position. Saying that other people are giving you good advice; hide your hand, bridge to your side, shrimp, Iâ??d push away on his hip to move your upper body away too, and complete the elbow escape.

If the guy is heavy I like some of the old school sweeps too. I espcially like this one:

  1. Hook the trapped leg with you outside leg,
  2. turn your hip away from him,
  3. hook his non-trapped leg with your inside leg,
  4. turn back to him and upa. You should try and touch the ground with your far hand to help creat the pressure and control on his body.

I find that it works great.

If it helps I’m a smaller guy at my club, so if I don’t focus on techinque I get crushed. You should check out www.submissions101.com as well. They have a good mix of no-gi 10th planet stuff and traditional jiu jitsu techniques.

Hi there. Half guard is my favorite position to fight from. I spent about 3 months doing nothing but half guard during rolling sessions to get it to start working. Once it DID start working, though, it became a very dangerous position. Also, please do not check out Submissions101.com’s older videos; only their newer vids, when they started traing with Keith Owen.

Some things you have to remember when fighting in half guard:
1.) You cannot be flattened out. You have to create some space between your opponent and your hips/chest OR be on your side to be able to set up anything. If you get flattened out, step 1 is always to scoot, scoop, fight for the underhooks etc, do whatever to get off your back and make space.

2.) Don’t let your opponent turn his hips and face your legs. Like in the pic you posted. Looking at the pic, what the guy on the bottom has to do is use his right arm/elbow to prevent (what you see his right arm doing in that pic) the person on top from turning completely and beginning the pass.

Some common situations from half guard:
Let’s assume that you have your opponent’s left leg trapped with your legs.

1.) Your opponent has the same side underhook.
-One thing that I like to do is switch my leg hooks (put my left leg over the trapped leg and free up my right leg) then insert my right leg as a half-butterfly into my opponent’s left leg. Keep your same side overhook to keep him from backing out. This half butterfly will prevent him from driving his weight on you.

Scoot your hips out a bit (if you’re flexible like me, you can skip that) and control the far side wrist. Take your half butterfly out and put it on the bicep/shoulder of the arm whose wrist you’re controlling. Go for the triangle by chopping down on the guy’s head with the leg that your put up, release your same side leg hook to complete the triangle. Adjust.

2.) You have the same side underhook.
-Step one is to BE ON YOUR SIDE AND MOVE DOWN. One sweep (I think Eddie Bravo calls this “old school”. It’s my go to sweep. But DO NOT do it with the Lockdown) you can do is to grab the guy’s far side foot. Pull it towards you with both your hands and trap it behind his butt.

Once you grab his foot (grab at the toes, not at the ankle or shin), switch your leg hooks, slide your right leg under his (keeping your left leg over his leg) and drive into him like you would a wrestling high crotch takedown. Make sure to pass his guard right after the sweep, you don’t want to end up in his half guard.

As much as I’d love to help, there’s not much I can do on the forum. You should ask your instructor about half guard. Also, check out Stephan Kesting’s “The Dynamic Half Guard” DVD. I learned a lot from that and it really helped my half guard game.

Sincerely,
Carlos Jesena

I’m a judo heavyweight (100+kg) and my half guard is pretty solid. As a bigger guy my legs are thick, so I can lock a half guard and hang out there all day.

If the other guy is really focused on your legs, you can sneak in a cross choke on the lapels.

Sweeps are great from halfguard, but I prefer just to hang out there because most of my partners struggle against it.

I like an over the shoulder kimura also. If you’ve got half guard on his right leg, you pull him close and reach your right arm over his right shoulder. Sneak your left hand under his arm and use a figure four to control his upper body.

[quote]goose27 wrote:
I’m a judo heavyweight (100+kg) and my half guard is pretty solid. As a bigger guy my legs are thick, so I can lock a half guard and hang out there all day.

If the other guy is really focused on your legs, you can sneak in a cross choke on the lapels.

Sweeps are great from halfguard, but I prefer just to hang out there because most of my partners struggle against it.

I like an over the shoulder kimura also. If you’ve got half guard on his right leg, you pull him close and reach your right arm over his right shoulder. Sneak your left hand under his arm and use a figure four to control his upper body.[/quote]

i dunno if you got the sides mixed up, but if you do that last kimura as described, im going to take your back and choke you

[quote]slimjim wrote:

[quote]goose27 wrote:
I’m a judo heavyweight (100+kg) and my half guard is pretty solid. As a bigger guy my legs are thick, so I can lock a half guard and hang out there all day.

If the other guy is really focused on your legs, you can sneak in a cross choke on the lapels.

Sweeps are great from halfguard, but I prefer just to hang out there because most of my partners struggle against it.

I like an over the shoulder kimura also. If you’ve got half guard on his right leg, you pull him close and reach your right arm over his right shoulder. Sneak your left hand under his arm and use a figure four to control his upper body.[/quote]

i dunno if you got the sides mixed up, but if you do that last kimura as described, im going to take your back and choke you[/quote]

Maybe i got mixed up, I dunno. I don’t type good jujitsu, i just try to do good jujitsu

[quote]admbaum wrote:
you guys should think of bottom half guard like you do full…there are subs to be had, but position before submission and I leave you with this

and

pfft…lock down sweep[/quote]

I just watched these, interesting. I’ll have to play with them. Butterfly hooks seem to be the key to getting out of half guard, huh?

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:
electric chair…[/quote]

??

[quote]pch2 wrote:

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:
electric chair…[/quote]

??[/quote]

[quote]admbaum wrote:

[quote]pch2 wrote:

[quote]cycobushmaster wrote:
electric chair…[/quote]

??[/quote]

[/quote]

sorry, i forgot to explain…

that’a good video explaining that…one of my buddy’s uses this exclusively, and can sweep pretty much everybody in our club. i’ve gotten so used to defending him, that other people’s half-guard is almost simple compared to his…

i don’t know many other techniques, though, but this seems like a really high percentage attack…

10PJJ stuff really doesnt work for me. I have a hard enough time getting BJJ/GJJ techniques down. Just remember to keep it simple and develop a firm base in the basics.

[quote]admbaum wrote:
10PJJ stuff really doesnt work for me. I have a hard enough time getting BJJ/GJJ techniques down. Just remember to keep it simple and develop a firm base in the basics.[/quote]

I’m gong to have to pretty much agree with this. I’m not that flexible, not athletic. I prefer a slow pressure based controlled game. It’s interesting to see in order to know what other people are going to try, but not my game.