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Learning The Half Guard For Self-Defense

Learning The Half Guard For Self-Defense


The half guard has long been one of the most popular guards in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and mixed martial arts.  The half guard is very good for both sport Jiu Jitsu and self-defense, it is also one of the most frequently utilized guards in the UFC.  Why is this?  The half guard provides an excellent sense of control, and safety. 

It is hard to sustain damage in the half guard if you know what you are doing.  There are some principles that you can use in the half guard that will allow you to remain safe if you are in some type of self-defense altercation.  Many people are not familiar with the subtle intricacies of the half guard, especially random people on the street. 

When people attempt to punch you or hurt you and they do not know how to properly hold their base, it is an effortless position to sweep and even submit your opponent.  All you have to know how to do is use your underhook to get up, and know the proper body and hand positioning.  If closed guard is more your cup of tea, check out our article “Closed Guard For Self-Defense.”

Hand and Body Positioning of Half Guard For Self-Defense

Hand and body positioning in the half guard are extremely important especially when discussing self-defense.  Your hand and body positioning is the most important thing if someone is trying to punch you or inflict physical damage.  You want to be on your side, you want to have an underhook and block their arm from punching you.

When you stay on your side you also want to stay crunched and keep your head close to their knee so that you can stay out of harm’s way.   Once your body positioning is correct you want to play defensively and wait for your opponent to make a mistake.  Usually in self-defense situations there is a lot of adrenaline and things happen quickly.  In this type of conflict if you remain cool and trust your bjj, your assailant will make a mistake that allows you to capitalize. 

Let it be noted if there are ever any weapons or multiple attackers your two best weapons are your feet and your mouth.  Try to talk your way out of things, see if you can run, and avoid physical action at all costs.  Check out this cool half guard sweep below.

Using the Underhook to Get Up and Sweep from Half Guard

The underhook is your best friend for half guard whether it is self-defense or sport.  If someone is trying to attack you and you end up in half guard, make sure you get an underhook.  The underhook is what will allow you to stay on your side and get up from a sweep or takedown.  Check out this video below of half guard being used in the UFC and take note of the underhook.

If you want to learn a different and very realistic approach to self-defense, check out Chad Lyman’s “Street Fighting Secrets” 4 DVD Set!  This is an excellent resource for anybody who wants to have a superior sense of security anywhere they go.  Jiu Jitsu is good but there is more to be learned when it comes to self-defense.


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