Mount and Half-Guard Concepts – Robot Fight & Fitness
Robot Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Mount and Half-Guard Concepts
We have been covering the Mount position for the last couple weeks. Once we are finished with this section, we will begin studying the Half-Guard. This week, I wanted to highlight a couple of interesting connections between the two positions that can illuminate different tactics and strategies for use in both positions. Enjoy! :]
1) Mount and Half-Guard: How are they different?
To start, let’s examine one of the key differences between the positions – the ability to create torque from the legs. When you have the Mount on your opponent, you have an immense amount of torque available to you by using your legs to hook to your opponent’s leg (grape vines). By flexing the instep of your feet against your opponent’s shins, opening your knees and creating pressure through your pelvis as if you were trying to push your opponent’s belt into the floor, you pin their legs and lower spine in their current position. This stability gives you ample time to acquire your next control, which would be a cross-face, your head or chest turning their head, etc. Whatever you elect, you would want to add some sort of head control to the existing leg-on-leg control.
From the bottom of the half-guard, the ability to create torque exists on a more equal playing field – until one person acquires an underhook or head control, then both the half-guard player and the guard passer can create torque from their legs. The half-guard player can use this to sweep, attack the back, attack submission or transition to another guard. Thinking back to the mount, the dominant person is using their legs to create torque and pin their opponent’s pelvis; in contrast, when using the half-guard your goal is to prevent the person on top from pinning your hip to the floor. This is why it is so important to make sure and “rock the boat,” that is – whether your move left or right using half-guard, you cannot allow the person on top to flatten your hips and stifle further rotation. This will inevitably lead to upper-body control and a guard pass or submission.
2) Mount and Half-Guard: How are they similar?
Next, let’s look at a similarity between the Mount and Half-Guard – the importance of head control. Keep in mind, head control does not mean simply mushing and smushing someone’s face or simply having your arm under their head. Head control specifically means causing the other person’s head to turn out of a neutral, forward-facing position, usually by creating a fixed point on their neck / jaw / chin with your shoulder and using rotational force to turn their skull and upper spine. From the Mount, once you have set your grape vines, you reach under their head, grab their armpit (ideally), pull your elbow towards your hip and then apply force to turn their head. Because you have used the grape vines to pin their hip, by simply gripping under their head on the armpit and pulling tight, you create a fault in the spin. A second fault is created once you apply the force with your shoulder.
To illustrate these two faults, Imagine you are standing over a bag of amazingly cute puppies (Figure 1)
Now obviously, we want to pick up this bag of puppies, take it home, set up a photo shoot and then post the pictures on Reddit to reap that sweet, sweet karma. If you are able execute a textbook deadlift, then you are on your way to raising many, many cute puppies and all is well.
However, if you tilt your head to the side so that your shoulders and ears start to look like they’re stacked on top of each other vertically, that bag of puppies will have to wait, because you won’t be able to lift them up! This is what happens after the first grip from the mount is locked and the elbow is pulled in. Once the shoulder pressure is applied on top of this, it is the same as tilting your head so your shoulders and ears until they are vertical (our previous example) and simultaneously trying to look up towards the ceiling!What that means is: No puppies today, no escaping Mount and also, if we are discussing Half-Guard, no sweeps or other attacks (in fact, you are on the border of a half-guard pass). This is exactly the same in the half-guard so whether we are discussing the Mount or Half-Guard, keep in mind that head control is one of your top priorities.
tl;dr – When you have the Mount, use the grapevines to pin their hips and then get some form of head control. When you are on the bottom Half-Guard, you must keep your whole spine in strong alignment so do not allow your hip to get pinned (lower-spine control) or your head to get controlled (upper-spine control).
P.S. Yes, I could have used a bag of anything, it didn’t have to be amazingly cute puppies. But now, I have your attention :]
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