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Don't Make These Four Common Half Guard Mistakes
The half guard has gone from being a position of desperation for someone who is about to have their guard passed to frantically cling to one of their opponent's legs just delaying the inevitable in early days of BJJ to a powerful position from which can be launched a wide variety of submissions and sweeps. It is no longer the tool of the desperate, but instead a powerful offensive guard option that, if mastered, can make you a feared opponent and training partner.
There are a number of common mistakes that can make your bottom half guard much less effective. Let's take a look at these common errors that can be easily addressed by first being aware of them and then making some small adjustments to your positioning.
Don't remain flat
A good general rule of solid jiu jitsu is to beware of being flat in most positions, more so in bottom half guard. By rolling to our ribs and being on our sides, we are able to sustain much more pressure than if we are flat from an opponent putting immense pressure on us. In addition, being on our ribs and sides puts our hips in a much more mobile position, whether we are simply moving back and forth or using our legs to launch submission attempts. If there is one of these errors to focus on first, this is the one. Get to your side and strengthen your half guard.
Don't be too far away
Many of the techniques in BJJ require counter intuitive movements or bodily placement. When someone is placing all of their weight and pressure down upon you, your natural instinct is to move away from the pressure, stretching your body out. Instead you should be curling your body into your opponent trying to get yourself under their hips. By staying on your side, curling your body into your opponent and working for an under hook and keeping the opponent from controlling your head with cross-face pressure, you will put yourself in a better position to reverse your opponent and get to a better position.
Don't forget to control the opponent's leg
This may seem extremely obvious, but often when we are working our sweeps or trying to advance our position in half guard, we will forget to hook the opponent's leg either with our bottom leg or the outside leg. The second that this crucial element of control is disregarded the opponent will escape and begin moving to a better position like side control or even mount. You must keep a foot, shin, or leg across your opponent's leg to maintain your half guard. Without it, you're not in half guard any longer and you're on the defensive.
Don't be without a Plan B
As positions develop there will also be an upsurge in counter techniques. As offensive bottom half position players improve their ability to control, sweep or submit their opponents, the same can improvement will be seen in defenses to those sweeps and submissions. And while you're improving the positioning of your body on your side and curled into your opponent, while effectively hooking their leg, you must also have a series of Plan B moves that allow you to abandon half guard if you need to and recover full guard or begin to work another type of guard.
If you want to learn the 3 simple keys to a more effective half guard, you will need to check out this article from BJJ Fanatics here.In the video below, the 4 common errors that should be addressed before you make them are discussed and demonstrated.
Want to learn the half-guard secrets directly from world champion Bernardo Faria who is known all over the world for his "Battle Tested Half Guard"? Then you will want to get his 4 volume set here!