Creating more options from the bottom of half guard

Just a few little cleanups depending on how screwed I might get. Let’s face it, we don’t always prevent the headwrap or being flattened out. And with a couple of these options in our back pocket, we don’t have to really worry if the other guy beats us in getting the advantage.

  1. Head wrapped and flattened: One of the worse things that can happen if caught on the bottom of half guard is to have your opponent get the head wrap and use that to help flatten you out. Stay there long enough and your oponent will eventually free his knee and pass your half guard or worse– get the 3/4 mount or full mount. So, what can we do from there?

    Option 1: Block the hip on the passing side with your same side hand. And then bridge into that same side, but also use your opposite arm to help turn the head. As you create space, while coming down from your bridge, circle your arm from the top of his neck (remember, you’re turning his head with it) to the throat. Now, you should have one arm in a fairly safe and strong position. You’re now ready to bridge again. With this second bridge, you’re going to really take advantage of the forearm in the throat to create enough vertical space to pull your outside leg inward to establish a knee shield and then extend your torso away to create more space.

    Once the knee shield is in place, you can do many other things, such as:

    Option 2: Shoot back in for deep half guard

    Option 3: Pull half guard foot through and onto opponent’s hip for open guard or possibly closed guard

    Option 4: From the re-established open guard, pinch the hand against the leg, use opposite side foot to push off the hip and swing the other leg over the shoulder for an omaplata

  2. Flattened and have no pummel: By handing your opponent’s trapped foot to your outside foot, you can pull his leg outward to widen and de-stabilize his base. This can be used to help get the pummel back in and to threaten with a sweep. If your opponent places his weight on the trapped leg to make such a move difficult, you can threaten with that as you push his opposite side knee out. Again, it will widen and de-stabilize his base so that you can threaten with the sweep. The key is that if your opponent has you flattened out, you should be able to simply de-stabilize his base so that you can get back to your side vs your back.

This isn’t intended to be a magic pill for half guard. It’s simply meant to be a reminder that when things look really bad on the bottom of half guard, we can make some quick adjustments to turn things around again.


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