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How Deep is Your Deep Half Guard?
We have been exploring half guard lately here at BJJ Fanatics and looking at all of the elements that make up a strong, basic half guard game that every BJJ student can implement TODAY to begin diversifying their guard game.
The creation of half guard has been attributed to Roberto Correa, otherwise known as "Gordo" who begin utilizing it out of necessity due to a knee injury he had sustained and wanted to continue working through. in interviews, Gordo has said that though he is grateful to be mentioned as a part of jiu jitsu history, he doesn't feel that he created the half guard. Half guard existed long before him, so if anything, he began to explore it and develop it's offensive potential.
Over the years, with the help of many of the highest level competitors in the sport, half guard has developed and splintered into a number of significant offshoots, like Z Guard, Half Butterfly, Seated half guard, Lockdown and Deep half guard.
Deep half guard in simplest terms involves "diving" into and under your opponent's hips to position one of their thighs so that it is running the length of your body and their foot is suspended off the ground forcing them to plant their weight onto one knee and making them extremely light.
From deep half, there are a number of dynamic sweeps available because of the way the opponent's weight can be manipulated with little effort from you. But the position isn't without it's own inherent dangers. If the opponent is able to step over your head with their knee, they have easily passed your guard and are in position to potentially launch knee bar submissions on you. Conversely, if their leg is easily lifted up and away from your body, they will be able to mount you rather easily, which is why their suspended leg must be monitored and controlled.
Deep half guard is an extremely versatile position which we will see shortly. It can be used as an oasis to save you from some of the worst positions you can find yourself in. The distance from being mounted to having your opponent in deep half guard is not as far as you might think.
One of the OG's of the Deep Half Guard position is Jeff Glover. As one of the most creative and exciting grapplers in the history of the sport, Glover's innovations in the realm of deep half guard are still highly regarded and being studied. Let's take a look at a series of deep half guard videos which highlight just a few of the ways this guard can be used to escape and transition to the safety of deep half. In the video below, Jeff shows a very basic entry into the deep half position. Check it out here.
Basic Deep Half Guard Entry
In the deep half entry example shown above, Jeff uses his knee shield to debase his opponent and "tip them over" putting their weight on the far knee. This makes the nearside leg extremely light and allow him to use his bottom hook to straighten the leg and dive his arm under the hips, putting him in perfect position to suspend the opponent's thigh along the length of his body keeping their weight on the one side making them extremely light and in a precarious spot.
Being stuck in side control can be one of the most demoralizing places to be held in BJJ. With proper grips and weight placement, the opponent can feel like they are parking a mack truck on your torso and keeping you flat.
Escaping Side Control to Deep Half Guard
In the video below, the wiry 150-ish lb Jeff Glover easily slips out and enters into deep half guard. By using his frames and angling his hips properly at the right time, he is able to exploit his opponent's knee causing them to create a small amount of space for hims to shoot through. Check out the video below.
Escaping Mount to Deep Half Guard
Being mounted is classically considered the worst possible place you can find yourself in. In the video below, Jeff Glover shows how to easily transition from this horrible spot, to the much safer deep half guard position. Going from a position where someone is essentially sitting on your chest and upper torso to a position where you have less than 1/3 of that weight and pressure on you and you're controlling their ability to progress is a transition everyone can use.
Escaping the Back Mount to Deep Half Guard
Second only to the mounted position is the danger that can be presented by an opponent who has back mount. Using a classic back mount escape as a starting point, Jeff Glover catches the opponent mid-reaction trying to regain mount to transition into the deep half guard.
If this is your first foray into the world of the deep half guard, there really is no one more qualified to introduce you. As a 150 lbs grappler, Jeff Glover has achieved some amazing things against much larger opponents. Much of the credit can be given to his creative and innovation in the world of half guard, specifically with the deep half guard.
If you've played with deep half guard before, it would never hurt to be a little more like Jeff Glover in style as well as technique. Jeff brings a very open-ended, risk taking approach that is both fun and dangerous. His unique approach keeps his opponents guessing and puts himself in dangerous spots where he must use his skill and his mind to escape. Grapplers like Jeff Glover helped pave the way for competitors like Garry Tonon who seem to thrive on the challenge of putting themselves at risk, by almost accepting the bad positions to show how well they can escape.
Take advantage of this legendary innovator on the mats and check out his six volume Deep Half Guard DVD available here at BJJ Fanatics! Not only will you get all of the secrets to Jeff's deep half, but you will also learn passes, Darces and get to see a number of Jeff's best matches!