Half guard choke from top

Last night we worked on a new submission from the top of half guard. In the position, it feels a lot like you’re in side control, except one of your legs is tied up.

To get in the position, lay cross body against your opponent. When I was on the bottom of this position, I found myself with somewhat of a side control defensive posture. In other words, one hand was on the hip and the other was near the armpit.

You’ll need to make sure you’re applying good hip pressure with the side that’s closest to his head, not the side closest to the legs. And you’ll want to drive your elbow to the mat, preferably so his arm is on the outside. You want to get it in between his body and his arm.

Once you’ve got your arm in place and you’re applying good hip pressure, put your other hand on his hip. You’re going to press against his hip at the same time you drive your opposite elbow back towards his head. The closer your elbow is to his elbow, the easier it will be to move his arm.

As you move his arm back, it will get weaker and weaker and quite uncomfortable. The tendency will be for the arm to try to go to the opposite side in order to relieve some of the pressure.

Once the arm’s back, use this opportunity to get your knee up and above your opponent’s half guard. You don’t have to get the foot untrapped. You simply need to have it so it won’t get stuck.

Now, drive his arm all the way back until you can wrap his neck from the inside. Don’t wrap it from the outside or reverse wrap. This is the same kind of wrap you would do from side control or if you were trying to control the head normally from half guard.

At this point, his head should be wrapped and his arm draped across his throat like for an arm triangle.

Now, rotate your hips so that your freed knee can drive to the mat. This should leave you in a 3/4 mount position. You can try to free your foot for the full mount. But 3/4 mount works just fine as well.

With your wrapping arm, reach for your opposite bicep as you close your choke and tighten. I like to take my hand and start wrapping back toward his face to really tighten this choke.

This was really a fun and effective choke to learn, but in live training, I couldn’t land it a single time. This is probably because everyone knew what was coming.

Your opponent might very well do everything possible to avoid letting his arm get trapped like this. If he does so, he will very likely release the half guard. Or he may turn into you. Either way, be ready for it and take advantage of getting the mount or taking the back.

During our up, down and out training, I couldn’t win a single position from top or bottom. It was a tough night last night. After class, however, I did do some rolling and that was a different story. We literally rolled all over the mat during one session. I regard my partner as really good with his technique and flexibility. He also has really good cardio. The match went long enough that he eventually called it quits to rest. This was a huge accomplishment for me. But in his defense, he was also rolling with one of the other guys quite a bit before letting me in.

My buddy sort of jumped me from behind to start off round 2, which was fine. I’d rather have him do that than have us both start from knees. I never seem to win the initial position anyway.

I wish I could give a replay account of what he did and how I reacted. We tried to show Professor Jubera, but could never reproduce the positions or moves. In the end, he was face down, in some form of side head lock. But he wasn’t facing me. We were both facing the same direction. Eventually, I got the tap as I drove his face into the mat while tightening the choke. I’m pretty sure it was more of a crank than a choke. At one point, it felt really tight as he turned the wrong way and I felt my arm slip underneath his chin.

That was pretty much it. Too few guys after class to get more rolling in. I had to wait a while to get these two sessions in.

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