Position of the Month: Half Guard

BJJ Bristol Artemis Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - Half Guard
Dónal is using the knee shield style of half guard

Artemis BJJ is a year old! We’ve come a long way since January 2014 and our classes are expanding. As a result, from this Monday onwards, there will be an additional 30 minutes of open mat time after the Monday class. In a few months’ time, we’ll also hopefully be able to move to the bigger mats on the Wednesday: watch this space for updates.

Having gone through the other two main varieties of guard (closed and open), it’s time to move on to half guard. This is a versatile position with plenty of variations, the common thread being that you have one of their legs under control. Our focus will be the ‘orthodox’ half guard, moving into some other useful versions like the knee shield towards the end of the month.

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. If you’re not careful about your transition from side control to mount, you may also find they snatch your leg and put you in half guard.

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 February to learn more about this essential guard subcategory!

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