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Framing From The Bottom Half Guard
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Framing From The Bottom Half Guard

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How important is framing exactly? What does it really mean? Is it just something we do, or should there be a strategy behind it? 

Framing is important and we should have a strategy behind when, how and why we are doing it along with a goal in which we intend to accomplish by using the frame or frames.

It’s no secret framing is important.  It’s a key component in almost every defensive position in Jiu Jitsu.  Let’s face it though, not all frames are created equally, it matters how you frame.  The frame can be the difference in life or death… Ok, maybe it’s not that serious, although I suppose it could be in a street fight situation.  The thing about frames is that you don’t need to be super strong, or athletic to have a great frame. In all actuality a frame’s effectiveness has little to do with how strong you are, and much more to do with proper alignment for your bone structure, and your opponent’s.  

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Here to show us the way of the perfect frame is Professor Tom DeBlass in his video clip titled “Half Guard Frame – How to Prevent the Guard Pass” a short example of what you can expect from his deep dive into his half guard game and how he has dominated with it in his full video instructional titled “Half Guard Domination”.  Let’s see if we can learn a thing or two from one of the most accomplished American grapplers on the planet. 

Professor DeBlass starts out by saying a quick tip, that is fundamental to our Jiu Jitsu. “The thing you have to understand is if you are on the defense, you have to create space, and if you are on the offense you need to take space.

Starting out in bottom half guard Professor DeBlass shows how he likes to hold this position.  Frist, he likes to have a knee shield that is pointed at the opponent’s opposite shoulder, allowing the knee shield to get too low will create the opportunity for the opponent to smash the knee down and start to pass.  With his hand, he likes to be under the neck cupping the shoulder, and even mentions going to one hand over the other if needed, meaning bringing his right hand up and putting it on the back of his left hand as additional support if necessary.  It’s also important to note the position of your elbow on your left arm – the arm being used for a frame – Professor DeBlass prefers to have his elbow on the inside. 

A common mistake people make is not removing the under hook when shooting in for the under hook.  Not only does this make it much more difficult to get the actual under hook, but it can put your under hooked arm in danger if the opponent uses this opportunity to get a whizzer and use it.

One of the ways the Professor DeBlass likes to get the under hook if the opponent is trapping his bottom leg it to kick his knee shield out, which in turn will create space and invite the opponent to close the space.  As the opponent closes the space Professor DeBlass is keeping his top arm, the one that will be his under hook, tight to his body so that he is not at risk. From this point the opponent will likely pressure in bringing their chest to yours and when they do you will be able to slip your under hook in by leading with your elbow. 

Once you achieve the under hook the next step is to reach all the way over the opponent’s back towards their opposite shoulder.  This will put you in position to shrimp out to the same side as your under hook and begin to work on whichever reversal you prefer.  

These frames should not be exhausting, they should be exhausting your opponent.  If you feel like you are working hard with your frames then you need to adjust somewhere because this should be a bone structure thing, not a muscle thing and therefore should be rather easy for you to hold even a much larger opponent away for an extended period of time if necessary. 

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Professor Faria – the “opponent” in this video clip, closes by saying that the right move in Jiu Jitsu is the move that works for you.  For example, Professor Faria likes to put his elbow on the outside, whereas Professor Deblass prefers the inside, the reality is, both of these athletes are extremely successful and I would argue that both options are good options. 

Once again, we come back to drilling.  Drilling multiple types of frames, and adjusting where you put the frames will help you to develop consistency in your live training game, but also help you to determine how to frame differently against different opponent’s body types.  There is also the point of repetition creates comfort. The more we practice these techniques in controlled situations, the more prepared we are for the competitive situations. 

If you are looking to take your half guard game to an elite level like Professor DeBlass and Professor Faria, you are going to need to dedicate several hours each day to training, it’s not going to happen by simply buying a video instructional and not doing the work.  However, If you are willing to do the work, it’s important that you are doing the right work. You have the opportunity to choose who you want to model your game after, and I think these two are a great starting point. In addition to titled “Half Guard Domination”. Professor DeBlass I would add “The Battle Tested Half Guard” by Professor Faria to the mix.  These two video instructionals are sure to take your game to levels you have only imagined, if you are willing to put in the work, as these two high level competitors have done. 

Discover Bernardo Faria's secrets to the half guard with one of the best DVD series ever on the half guard.... BATTLE TESTED HALF GUARD!!! If you train Jiu Jitsu, you need this DVD series from BJJ Fanatics.

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