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Half Guard Principle, Controlling The Distance
The half guard is one of the most popular guards in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA. The half guard is frequently utilized at the highest levels of both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu/Grappling, and MMA. We see the half guard at Worlds, ADCC, and in the UFC all the time.
The half guard is one of the first guards that many bjj practitioners are exposed to, and many of the casual MMA fans may be familiar with. What makes the half guard so powerful? The half guard is easy to find, and is great for distance control.
Why the Half Guard is Easy to Find
The half guard is very popular and we know this, but why are so many elite grapplers so good at the half guard? It is likely that as they were progressing on their bjj journey, they would constantly get people in their half guard because people always tried to knee slice, or they would only be able to get half guard back after they had been passed.
What we mean is once you have your guard passed, it is not always feasible to just get closed guard back and it may be easier to get half guard. Secondary to that, if someone tries to rush past your guard, many times, as a beginner all you can do is trap one leg therefore putting your opponent in half guard. This is where the journey to get good at the half guard begins.
The half guard is one of the most popular guards for a reason. If you feel comfortable with half guard, it will make it way easier to become a good guard player because you can trust in your half guard to prevent many fast-paced passes and slow the pace of a match down. Check out this excellent video below on retaining half guard with Tom Deblass.
Controlling the Distance in Half Guard
The most important thing you can learn to do is control the distance in half guard. You want to prevent your opponent from getting an underhook or a cross face. Check out our articles the Power of the Underhook and The Power of the Cross Face to learn more on using the underhook and cross face to pass.
When playing half, your main objective is to stop your opponent from putting chest to chest pressure, and not allowing them to get an underhook or a cross face. The underhook and cross face are what an opponent trying to pass half guard will use to close the distance.
One of the simplest ways to stop your opponent from getting pressure on you is by using a frame to control the distance. Stay on your side and use a frame that way you create a structure in between you and your opponent. Check out this video with half guard master, Tom Deblass as he shows an EXCELLENT way to frame and control the distance between your opponent and you.
If you want to learn more amazing half guard tactics, check out Tom Deblass’s DVD set, “Half Domination.” This is one of the best resources you can have to learn half guard, especially if you are a nogi practitioner. Tom Deblass may just have the best NoGi half guard on the planet!