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Knee Shield Basics With Bernardo Faria
Bernardo Faria is one of the most successful BJJ competitors in history. Much of his success on the competition mats was due to his creative use of half guard. He has been referred to as the Michael Jordan of half guard because of his dominant use of the position.
Half guard was once considered to be a last ditch effort to prevent someone from passing your guard. Popularized in the early days of BJJ competition by Roberto Correa who actually began using the position because of a knee injury, it has now become a staple in the competitive game plans of some of the most famous and successful competitors who have ever stepped on the mats. People like Lucas Leite, Tom DeBlass, and Bernardo Faria have utilized half guard as a foundation of their successes.
Check out the video below, excerpted from Bernardo Faria's upcoming new BJJ instructional release. In it he shows the importance of understanding the role of the knee shield when beginning to understand the basics of half guard.
The Knee Shield
When introducing new students to half guard, Bernardo stresses the importance of understanding the power of a properly placed knee shield. The knee shield keeps the opponent's weight off of them and controls the distance between you and your opponent. For Bernardo, the most fundamental use of the knee shield is across the torso, much like a seat belt running from hip to far shoulder of the opponent.
The Collar Grip
The next piece of the bottom half puzzle for Bernardo Faria is a lapel collar grip that runs alongside the knee shield. By reaching into their collar with a four finger grip as deep as possible, you create a strong control and help support the knee shield in maintaining distance.
In addition, the collar grip allows you to bring the opponent on top of the knee shield when it's time to close the distance. And should they attempt to smash the knee shield by weaving their arm down through, they will essentially choke themselves when they attempt to drive through the collar grip.
The Role of the Bottom Arm
The bottom arm will engage and control their cross face arm to prevent them from getting head control. This will ensure that they do not get too close until you're ready to bring them to you when you close the distance.
While you wait for the new Bernardo Faria instructional on the Fundamentals and Concepts of Jiu Jitsu, take this opportunity to check out his No Gi Half Guard instructional and learn the game of one of the most successful half guard players in history.