Well, I finally got a chance to make some more video for the blog. I’ve been working on a few other things lately and haven’t had much time to give this blog much attention. I hope I can start getting back to more regular posting. Anyway, this week we were working on half guard top. I was lucky enough to have had a seminar on half guard a few weeks ago by a great SBG coach from Ireland named John Kavanagh. It’s really cool when you learn something new that makes everything start to fit together for you. John’s seminar did that for me. It really helped me to simplify the game. I’ll describe the simplified version of the half guard top game below with descriptions and video. I’ll also use a map analogy. Bear with me…
Steve Whittier (SBGi Blackbelt) and Matt Thornton both use this analogy quite a bit. I think it fits well with BJJ. I look at it as a map with routes and locations. The routes are the movements and the locations are postures and rest spots. My job as a BJJ guy is to make sure we are taking the route that I know very well and that we stop at the rest stops that I feel comfortable with. If I can get you to take my routes with me I can beat you. I know that territory very well. If you take me off path and put me on a different route that I don’t know so well I get lost. I have to rely on stamina, wit, and cunning to figure it out. I don’t want to do that.
Our half guard route today is a fairly straight one. Not many side routes to take if we do it right. There are only 3 stops. They are the leg, the hips and the shoulders. You’ll see how we get to stop and rest at those points as we progress through the journey. So, here goes…
Step 1- The Leg
The first step in half guard top is controlling the leg. If you don’t control the trapped leg a good guy will simply pull it out and take full guard. We can hold the bottom leg 3 ways:
- With our weight. Sit on it and be heavy. Squeeze your knees together. Point your outside knee towards his hip.
- With your hand. Reach way back between your legs. Grab his gi pants at the knee and staple the cloth to the mat. Be sure to keep your arm straight. Lean forward a bit and put the shoulder of the grabbing arm against his chest if needed. Be sure to squeeze your knees together.
- With your foot. Either one… Foot must be above knee. Squeeze knees together.
Step 2- Control the Hip
Step 3- Flatten Him Out
- Shoulder of Justice.
- Pry Bar.
- Lift the near arm.
- Head pressure.