Submissions from and against the Half-Guard (diary entry)



Continuing our work with the half-guard, my client and I decided to round up 2017 with details on incorporating the half-guard into the main guard game. The road that led us to the half-guard had begun with my client’s concerns in MMA that he didn’t feel very competent fighting from the guard. He had come across a common problem many students encounter when they pull guard in an intense fight; they become stuck in the position and are extremely cautious about doing anything other than holding on. I introduced a flow drill that reinforced key points of what to remember when fighting from guard, such as blocking the hips as a general rule, maintaining an under-hook when fighting from half-guard and keeping a minimum of three points of contact when fighting from a long-guard. These drills enabled my client to better move in and out of guard positions when under pressure. We went back to this drill in order to get more familiar with being able to transition to and from the half-guard into other guard positions.


From this drill we looked at attacking with submissions that were counters to our opponent’s counters. We concentrated on the opponent blocking an attempt to transition to butterfly guard. Here the opponent blocks a knee. When this happens my client noticed that a great way to bait the next move would be to offer some resistance to the block, keeping the opponent’s concentration on the knee. I was really pleased that I didn’t have to coach this point and demonstrated how much he had absorbed from going through the previous, often quite complicated lessons regarding twisters, lock-downs and other more advanced submission grappling work. It served as an example how attribute training works. He had picked up a lot of the subtle tactics used to access sweeps and other techniques, and saw how they would work in this instance. Here, the set-up led to a belly-down arm-bar. We then looked at other counters using the triangle choke, oma plata shoulder lock, standing amr-bars and a kimura lock.


Next we moved onto attacking the half-guard with an old favourite, the spinning knee-bar. My client had remembered this from previous lessons and it was a great way to finish the technical part of the lesson.


The lesson was finished with a round of submission grappling sparring.

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