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Half Guard Magic with Lucas Leite

Half Guard Magic with Lucas Leite


Lucas Leite has one of the best half guards in the history of BJJ. His work with the position is nothing short of genius, and watching him masterfully employ it in a competition setting is pleasure to view. With the release of the coyote half guard, we were treated to an inside look at Leite’s take on the position. The first instructional was in the gi, and of course the use of the gi material was a heavy factor in many of the techniques. Leite has now released a second installment of his work, but this time in a no gi setting. 

I couldn’t be more excited to see how the coyote half guard translates in to a no gi application. Leite has been one of the heaviest contributors to the half guard over the years, and continues to innovate at a very high level. We’ve been getting little sneak peaks of content from Leite leading up to the release. Its been great to get a taste of what’s to come, but now that the release has finally hit the BJJ Fanatics store, I’m excited to dig in! 

Let’s look at a few different excerpts of Leite’s work to get us excited about the release!

If your new to Leite’s material, have a look at this basic half guard sweep first to get a feel for this style and teaching. Check it out!

Beginning in the half guard, Leite brings us this technique from the standpoint of a self-defense or MMA scenario. He establishes his half guard by first locking his feet and using his top knee to keep his partner at a distance as he covers his head to defend himself. Leite also encapsulates his head with his arms and hands to defend himself from strikes. As the punches start to fly, Leite begins to open up, using his hands and arms to over hook his partners arms and block the strikes. He also brings his knee shield to the upper body to help establish stronger structure and framing. This is a great time for Leite to allow his knee shield to disappear and trade it for a deep under hook. 

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With the under hook established, Leite now looks to use his knee to bump his partner forward. As this occurs, Leite can escape his head from underneath and gain favorable positioning over his partner. With his bottom hook already set, Leite steps over the top, securing his far side hook and stretching his partner out to establish what may be the most devastating and dominant position in combat. He then secures a classic finish from this position, the rear naked choke.

This is a great sequence for beginners and a technique that everyone should know! 

So, here’s some signature Leite technique. One of the greatest attributes from the coyote system is the way the Leite reverses from half guard. He has a unique spin that he puts on his method that may completely change the way you look at sweeping from the half guard. Check this out! 


Setting up in similar position to the previous technique, Leite now controls the far wrist. He then releases his knee shield and simultaneously sits up to secure the under hook. His partner whizzers. A common reaction here to prevent the back take. Always keep this in mind. If there is no whizzer present, the chances are you have a direct path to the back from here. Letting go of the wrist, Leite reaches under his partner’s far leg in what seems to be a fake attempt to transition to the deep half guard. As he begins to come back down, he loads his partners weight on top of himself. This next detail is unique to Leite, and its what helped me the most when studying his work. He makes a switch here, passing off his partners foot from his bottom hook to the top hook. Once this switch is made, he hugs his partner’s thigh and hip to establish a strong connection. He then begins to pull outward on his partner’s knee, causing his partner to have to follow the stress on the joint. He also starts to walk himself underneath his partner in a circular motion eventually finding the reversal.  

If the top player begins to sprawl in response to this technique, this gives Leite the opportunity to easily transition to his knees in to the dogfight. Once he comes up, he can now reenter his roll and hit the same reversal with the aid of more momentum.

In another variation, Leite finds it difficult to disrupt his partner’s base from the dogfight, so he throws his leg over the back and enters a hook on the opposite side. As he forces his partner to the mat, he hooks the top leg, moving his partner away, which makes space for him to remove his bottom hook and land in side control.   

This video is critical in understanding Leite’s game, as there are some very important elements of it here and we can begin to get a feel for his goals with the half guard.  We got a lot more than we bargained for in this one, as it closes with some excellent details from Bernardo Faria!

This next technique is a defense for the D’arce choke. With any half guard game, using the under hook can bring with it, the threat of the D’arce choke. If we’re lazy in the position it can be a real threat. Leite has some ideas to not only keep your neck safe, but to also turn it in to opportunity. This technique contains some very similar details from the previous two techniques. Can you pick them out? Take a look!

With the under hook already acquired from the guard pull, Leite scissors his legs and performs the same hook switch that we’ve come to know from him. If he stays curled underneath his partner, the D’arce becomes a problem. To keep his partner from securing the technique, Leite simply stretches his body long. This keeps his partner from locking the D’arce. Not to mention how out of position the top players body is with Leite’s use of that hook and the stress that being put on the knee. 

Leite now begins to walk underneath his partner, using the knee pressure to gain compliance and completes the reversal. As e lands on the other side, he keeps the hook set to prevent any guard retention that his partner may have planned. Leite then places his opposite knee to the other side of his partner’s body, removes his arm from between the legs, and establishes side control.

The Coyote Half Guard has no been adapted for No-Gi. If you loved the original Coyote Half Guard by Lucas Leite, the No-Gi version is a MUST HAVE! Get your half guard going with Lucas Leite!




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