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Basic Half Guard Positioning with Jake Mackenzie

Basic Half Guard Positioning with Jake Mackenzie


The half guard is basic, right?  We all learn this position as a white belt in the fundamental class so it must be easy, right?  Wrong.  The half guard is one of the most basic guards in bjj and it is one of the first guards that many of us are exposed to but it is not easy.  The principles of the half guard are easy but there are a lot of subtleties that manty of us fail to incorporate into our half guard and this can kill our half guards. 

Some of the smallest details are the most important.  Where you position your body, your posture, how you grip, etc. These are what segregate the best guys from the average guys.  A lot of us are probably good half guard player but we lack the ability to reach the next level.  We know that the half guard works, and we know that it is a good position so what can we do to make it high level?

 How can we develop a half guard like the world class black belts who have won championships with it, Bernardo Faria, Lucas Leite, Xander Ribeiro and others?   Well, it all starts with the basics.  Today we are going to look at some basic half guard positioning with one of the best half guard players in bjj competition.  Although it is basic positioning, the details are advanced.  Let’s see the video below and then discuss it with a breakdown.

Breakdown of Basic Half Guard Positioning by Jake Mackenzie:

As we can see above in the video this is a half guard position that is different from what we are traditionally taught.  We are traditionally taught to figure four our legs, stay on our side and get the under hook.  This is good, but this is very rudimentary.  As you advance and go against better guys you need to do somethings to alleviate the pressure that you can feel when playing the half guard.

Notice how Jake does not even get the under hook from the get-go.  HE uses his knee to keep his opponent’s weight off of him and does not allow his opponent to get the under hook.  As you get better it is imperative to prevent your opponent from getting the under hook when you are playing the half guard.

Once Jake is ready to engage and initiate his attack with his opponent he will shoot the leg that his on top through and get the under hook.  Not only does Jake get an under hook, he hip escapes several times to create a drastic angle so that it is easier for him to get his sweeps.   Jake is off to the side on his opponent and he is doing a lot of other things. 

Jake controls his opponents leg by grabbing their shin, he also has such a good angle that it is difficult for his opponent to break his posture or get to his grip.  These are all simple but very effective and efficient details. When Jake is ready to come up and complete the sweep he is also keeping his hhead glue to his opponents chest so that he can take them down easier. 

This video is very good because he goes over both the basic half guard position when you are going to initiate the attack and the basic half guard position when you actually engage your opponent and complete the attack.  Although these may seem very simple, again, we cannot emphasize enough how critical it is to have all of the details nailed.

If you would like to learn more from Jake Mackenzie, check out his new DVD set all about the half guard.   This set is also available as a digital download.  Jake is one of the best half guard players in the world and he is also one of the best instructors.  Jake has an excellent way of articulating information and breaking it down in an easy to learn manner.  Check it out below.


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