Half Guard Details from Professor Tom DeBlass
As you start developing your game you inevitably find a version of guard that you prefer to play.
It seems a common first stop for many is to begin working half guard. Half guard creates tons of opportunities for us to sweep, setup submissions, or even move to another guard. I have found myself getting to half guard only to get smashed because I didn’t have the right frames in place to keep my opponent from flattening me out.
DeBlass Is Top Notch When It Comes To Improving Your Half Guard. Click Learn More below!
In Professor Deblass’ video “Half Guard Frame” he shows how he likes to frame to prevent the opponent from passing both when starting from an already established half guard, and when the opponent starts standing.
Let’s break down the video and see what details you can add to your game to make your half guard Deblass strong.
“When we are on the defense we are trying to make space, when we are on the offense we are trying to take the space. “
Starting off Professor Deblass has Professor Faria in his half guard. First things first, the knee shield should be strong with the knee pointed at the opponents opposite shoulder. In addition to the knee shield Professor Deblass is using the had from the same side as his knee shield to brace across Professor Faria’s neck. While using this frame Professor Deblass prefers to keep his elbow tucked on the inside of his knee shield whereas Professor Faria mentions in the video “there is no right or wrong way in jiu jitsu, it’s whatever works for you and your body type” as he mentions he prefers to keep his elbow on the outside of the knee shield. Professor Deblass supports his position of having the elbow on the inside by calling attention to the fact that having the elbow on the inside makes it much more difficult for your opponent to get the under-hook and start to pressure into you or flatten you out.
The next step in the reversal is to get the under-hook. In order to do this safely, you “must remove the knee shield”, having your forearm across the neck and your hand cupping the opponent's shoulder should allow you to put enough pressure against them to keep them from coming forward and should allow you to “steer” your opponent to an extent. As you collapse the knee shield, you shoot that leg through the outside allowing your opponent to close the distance. It’s important here to keep your arm tight to your body and not allow your opponent to swim to the inside. Professor Deblass notes that if the person is much bigger, or somehow putting a lot of pressure on you, you can use your top foot in their hip to push them away slightly and remove some of the pressure.
So when it comes to learning half guard, focus on what Tom DeBlass has tested and proven to be incredibly effective.
As they close the distance you should be able to stay on your side with your arm tight to your body so you can swim for the under-hook when the opponent gets tight to you. Once you get the under-hook the goal is then to try to reach your opponents opposite shoulder, allowing you to start creating more space and working the reversal.
What if the opponent starts standing? The first thing Professor Deblass wants to accomplish is to make contact. He mentions not to forget your bottom leg and getting it engaged in the opponent's’ hip as well in order to keep the pressure off. If the opponent is trying to knee slice from standing Professor Deblass’ goal is to get keep his bottom leg hooking the opponents’ leg but also bringing his bottom hand to the opponents shin. As he shows in the video, grabbing the shin makes it very difficult for your opponent to turn into you even if they are able to get the knee slice pass.
A few points that were stressed in this video and are key takeaways for me is always using all of your limbs to connect to the opponent, especially when they are standing. Additionally, I like the detail Professor Deblass showed about keeping his elbow on the inside and collapsing his knee shield allowing his opponent to advance and then swimming for the under-hook at a point where it’s much less likely you will get into a swimming match with your opponent for the under-hook. There are definitely a lot of details in this video from Professor Tom Deblass. To get a deeper dive into his half guard secrets check out his instructional!