I finally had a chance to shoot something related to my “There is no guard” post. You’ll want to have that background before you read this post so if you haven’t read it yet go over there and give it a read. I’m continuing to work to find some universal concepts from bottom that can be applied regardless of position.
For this post we’ll look at half guard and a couple of universal principles. I picked these principles because they work from multiple bottom positions and aren’t really dependent on being in half guard. The principles are:
Worst- Flat on back
Better- Up on side
If you manage to get up on your side, even a little bit, you have much more ability to create space and move your hips.
Even Better- Up on elbow
If you get up on your elbow you have much more energy in your hips. You also have much better ability to create effective frames and control space.
Best- Up on hand
If you get all the way up on one hand your hips have the most ability to travel. You have way more leverage for moving them, and your frames will really work well. You’ll be able to sweep, submit, or move out from under with ease.
I’m speaking of arm frames here. I developed most of what I know and show from Karl Tanswell out of SBG UK. He’s a fantastic coach and is one of the most creative BJJ guys I’ve ever met. He introduced me to “frameology” a few years back and I’ve been developing it ever since.
In BJJ there are only 2 arm frames– Long frames and short frames. The rule is that long frames are better than short frames and short frames are better than no frames. This means that if I don’t have frames from the bottom I should be getting some. If I have short frames from the bottom I should be looking to replace them with long ones if possible.
If on the bottom you prioritize frames this way you will always have enough space to work and you won’t be crowded by the top guy. I know a lot of people like an underhook from half guard bottom but it doesn’t allow you to control space. The underhook ties you to the top guy in a way that opening up the space again becomes impossible. The frame keeps all your options open.
Video of Concepts
Here’s a video explaining the concepts. It goes on for almost 10 minutes so I apologize for the length. I don’t usually have much time for editing so I didn’t cut this one at all. I never have enough time to plan videos so they are almost always done in one shot. I think there is enough here though that you can work with the idea of the two concepts to see if it will improve your half guard bottom game in particular and all of your other bottom games in general.