Closed guard is a solid defensive position with multiple high percentage attacks, but eventually somebody will break your closed guard open. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to stop them before they fully pass, trapping them in half guard.
Unlike closed guard, in this position you only have one of their legs under control, rather than a grasp around their hips. However, that’s still sufficiently strong to launch a variety of attacks: the half guard has a diversity of variations. Knee shield, lockdown and deep half are some of the most common.
The basic half guard involves trapping one of their legs, blocking the cross-face and looking for the underhook, propping yourself up on your side. To pass, the person on top will look to flatten their opponent onto their back, applying the cross-face and avoiding the underhook.
Half guard is perhaps the only truly neutral position in jiu jitsu. There are reliable submissions from both the top and the bottom, with many of the attacks from side control remaining viable (although the trapped leg cuts out any submission requiring a transition to north-south, which includes several powerful chokes).
Join us in June to learn more about this essential guard variation!