Robot Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Half-Guard and Variations

Robot Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Half-Guard and Variations

Robot Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Half-Guard and Variations

Hey all!

Over the coming weeks, we will be studying the half-guard. The half-guard is one of the most commonly encountered guards in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – technically, anytime you have one of your opponent’s legs entangled with one of yours, you are using the half-guard. Let’s take a quick look at some of the variations we will encounter and then go over a couple tips for success!

First, we have the “standard” half-guard:


Notice that the guard player not only has a) the underhook with his left arm but he is also b) blocking the cross-face with a “monkey paw” grip on his right-side and c) is creating a “lock-down” entanglement with his legs and his opponent’s legs. This is a great position to protect yourself from as well as setup back attacks and sweeps.

Next, we have the “deep half-guard”:

This guard gets its name from the fact that you must dive deep under your opponent’s legs in order to establish this guard.

A few years ago, this guard was incredibly popular, guard players were having a lot of success sweeping and attacking the back from here and guard passers were frustrated trying to decipher this position. Like all things in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, solutions to this guard were discovered and now this particular half-guard is less popular. That is not to say it is ineffective! Just keep in mind that techniques become more or less popular as people adapt to them.

Next, let’s look at the “knee-shield half-guard”:

This is one of my personal favorites because you can easily control the distance between yourself and your opponent (essential to a good guard) and you can attack with a large number of sweeps and submissions. Not only that, but many other guards are easy to access from the knee-shield, depending on how your opponent moves. So, not only are you relatively safe here, but you have a number of routes to attack your opponent or transition to even better attacking positions.

Notice that the guard player is using his right leg to entangle the guard passer’s right leg. This allows the left knee to act as a shield against the pressure of the person on top. This shield is supported by the position of the arms – the right arm is constantly blocking any type of head control and the left arm is blocking the shoulders and neck of the guard passer. When you can stop your opponent from bringing their head close to you and prevent their shoulders from fixing to your body, you are pretty safe from most pass attempts. Use this safety to explore other guards, sweeps and submissions!

Lastly, let’s look at the Reverse De La Riva:

This guard is an extension of the knee-shield guard that was mentioned above. When your opponent stands up in your knee-shield guard, you should move into the Reverse De La Riva position. From here you can launch a number of very effective sweeps, submissions and back takes. This is one of the most effective guards at the Black Belt level. It takes some times to get used to, but is incredibly useful and rewarding to execute.

In the photo above, notice that this guard is a hybrid half-guard and open-guard. It confers many of the benefits of these guards – as long as you do not allow the guard passer to dominate the distance between you!

As you can see, there are a large number of half-guard variations available to us. In order to most effectively learn the half-guard position, we will be focusing on the most common attacks and variations in order to expedite your path to success! 

Robot Fight Fitness – LA’s Top Martial Arts Training Facility Serving West Los Angeles & Santa Monica (90025). We always offer a free trial class so come check us out!

OSS :]

-Coach T

Robot Fight Fitness – LA’s Top Martial Arts Training Facility Serving West Los Angeles & Santa Monica (90025). We always offer a free trial class so come check us out!