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Half Guard BJJ Instructional Video
Don't Get Smashed In Bottom Half Guard!
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Don't Get Smashed In Bottom Half Guard!

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Progressing along our Jiu Jitsu journey we are certainly going to run into challenges. 

It seems to be a lot of the same challenges repeated time and time again, just at a higher level each time.  Allow me to explain. When we first start out in our Jiu Jitsu journey, we start to learn some of the basic, fundamental problems that come up during live training.  Let’s take top pressure from the opponent as an example. From just about every position we are in we quickly start to realize how easily the opponent can pressure into us, sometimes causing pretty serious discomfort, or arguably worse, preventing us from being able to sweep of submit the opponent.  

A common situation that occurs at almost every level is getting smashed when you are playing bottom half guard position.  When I said earlier that it seems to be a lot of the same “problems” that just continue to repeat themselves over and over again, this is a great example of that.  Let’s take a look at this in depth and clarify what I mean, as well as provide you with some solutions from Tom DeBlass on how to master half guard. 

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When we first start out in Jiu Jitsu, playing half guard is likely are first rogue experience, stepping out of the core fundamental techniques and starting to explore.  Half guard is often times a go to guard one the fundamentals are understood and executed with proficiency. As we enter into this new world of adding half guard to our game, likely one of the first road blocks we will experience is the opponent pressuring into us and achieving the under hook where they are in a dominant position and we may feel stuck.  

What’s interesting about this is that you will likely figure out how to get out of this situation one way or another, in the beginning, but then find yourself repeating the same exercise in a few months or years as you have progressed through the ranks and your opponents have built better stronger games that now defeat your old methods of escaping their top half guard pressure.  This is where the repetition and evolution comes in. So how do you prevent this from happening? Is there one sure fire way to never allow the opponent to smash you from top half guard?  

Tom DeBlass feels there is a simple and basic solution to this problem and even goes on to say that once you learn this process completely, you shouldn’t have to suffer from pressure in bottom side control ever again.  Let’s take a look at this pro tip from one of the best, most popular Jiu Jitsu instructors in the world, who also happens to be a high level competitor.  

From “Half Guard Master Tom DeBlass Shows Alternate Recovery From Smash Half”

In order to start with the very fundamental basics of what we need to do, we need to make sure that we have our entire body in sync and we are able to use everything simultaneously.  Let’s assume the opponent has already started to smash you from top half guard with the somewhat standard issue grip of cross face on one side and an under hook on the other side.  

From this position, the first thing we need to do in order to relieve some of the pressure being applied (or that can be applied) from the cross face is we need to swing both legs toward the side of our under hook and then immediately swing both legs the opposite direction in an effort to move the opponent’s hips off of us and create space (rather than swing the legs, you can simply put the focus on using the bottom leg when you bridge. 

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Both options are shown in the video clip, I feel swinging the legs provides more momentum therefore this method would be my preference) While doing this we must also reach with our under hook and bridge into the opponent as to help push their upper body off of us as well. Doing both of these tasks simultaneously should push the opponent off of you forcing them to do one of two things. Option one, they do nothing, and we continue on with the pressure in that direction and work to simply roll the opponent over and come up to the top, reversing the position.  Option tow, and the more likely of the options. The opponent can base out when they feel you gaining control of their weight, knowing this isn’t a good sign for them. If the opponent bases out, no problem, rather than a quick and easy reversal, this time we will simply be looking at other options, such as attacking the legs.

To move to attack the legs, when the opponent posts their arm, we simply frame across the opponent’s throat on the side closest to us.  This then allows us to pop our head out the side near the opponent’s ribs. Once our head is free we can abandon the frame and simply push on the opponent’s ribs to create some movement and to help us spin back to attack the opponent’s legs.  Our legs are already in the right place for leg attacks, one on each side of the opponent’s, so we just need to sing our body down toward their legs and keep our knees as tight as possible during the spin so we do not lose control of the knee.

From here we can begin getting into leg attacks.  If you are new to leg attacks, or maybe just interested in taking your game up a notch, John Danaher’s video instructional titled “Leg Locks: Enter the System” would be the best place to start.  John covers in intense detail the theories, fundamentals, and execution tips from A to Z in this video instructional.

More about Tom DeBlass and his incredible half guard game can be found in his video instructional titled “Half Guard Domination”.  This video instructional is packed full of decades of competition tested half guard techniques from one of the best competitors in the game, there is no way this instructional doesn’t change your game immensely.

John Danaher has changed the leg lock game with his technical leg lock system. Get his DVD "Leg Locks: Enter The System" and learn from one of the best instructors in the game! BJJ Fanatics has it here!

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