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Let This Half Guard Sweep Save the Day
Half guard is an extremely effective guard style that grew out of the basic need to prevent someone from completing a guard pass. What was once the last ditch use of one's legs to hook one leg of the opponent's body tightly to prevent the guard pass, has developed into a very desirable position that not only serves that original purpose of prevent a guard pass, but also opens the door to a number of sweeps and submission set ups.
The original, basic half guard has also morphed into a number of interesting variations that themselves continue to develop. There is the deep half guard in which the bottom half guard player dives underneath the opponent's hips and legs to work to sweep the opponent or set up other offensive techniques. There is the butterfly half guard which combines the controlling hook of standard half guard with the use of a powerful near side butterfly hook to elevate the opponent for sweeps or even serve as entries to submissions like leg locks.
No matter how good your half guard game has developed, the opponent's job is and always will be to pass that half guard to secure a more dominant position. One of the best ways to pass half guard is to secure a strong under hook, in an attempt to flatten the opponent and attempt to knee slice past the hips. In a way that is very reminiscent to the way that half guard began as a last ditch effort to stop the guard pass, when someone has that strong under hook and is slicing through, one of the only things we're left to do is try to clamp down on the lower leg and try to prevent that knee slicing leg from cutting through.
Now what? We can only hold that foot for so long before the opponent is most likely going to be able to pop that foot out. In the video below, 5 time world champion Bernardo Faria welcomes Josh Roth, a BJJ black belt, former NFL player and current law enforcement officer to show a super easy sweep that will save the day when that opponent is about to pass. Check it out below.
Let's take a look at this easy to pull off counter to the knee slice that will allow you to sweep your opponent and come up to a strong side control position. They will not know what hit them. They are literally inches from passing your guard and the next thing they know they are reversed and looking up at the academy ceiling. Once you have this simple series of steps down, you'll have this sweep down.
Secure the Over Hook
The opponent coming at you trying to pass the guard has a deep and powerful under hook. This is working to flatten you, make you less mobile and making it more likely they're going to free the leg you have trapped. Your only option is to minimize this under hook the best way you can by securing an over hook over top of it. This will help to decrease the power of the under hook slightly and also play a key role in the sweep in the end.
Reverse the Feet
In an effort to maximize the control you have on the lower leg and shin of the opponent trying to pass, Josh Roth recommends switching the positioning of your legs from the classic high leg over the top of the lower hook to the exact opposite. This maximizes the control and ensures that you are able to pull off the sweep without them squirting through.
Grab the Pants
With the bottom arm Josh will grab Bernardo's pants. This will serve multiple purposes. First this will allow him to straight arm the leg maximizing the leverage and control he has on Bernardo's hips as the sweep is enacted. Also, many times the top player will attempt to control your bottom arm in an effort to keep you flat and make the pass more uncomfortable and therefore harder to stop. By gripping the pants, this is no longer an option.
Turn and Extend the Hip
Once the grips and foot placement are completed, he will turn and extend his hips which will began to debase the opponent and having them starting to fall back works. Next by a series of short hip adjustments, Bernardo falls back and Josh comes up on top and so can you!
This is a great sweep for a lot of reasons. First, the initial grips and leg adjustments on your part absolutely slam the breaks on their guard pass. Where they were once cruising to the finish line past your hips and already thinking about their next move in side control, they now caught in a trap. Then with a few easy to acquire grips and a hip extension, the sweep is underway. You don't have to be super strong to pull this off. You don't need to be ultra athletic and explosive. Anyone, regardless of skill, athleticism or age can pull this half guard sweep if you follow Josh Roth's easy to follow instruction.
And to get more half guard secrets from Bernardo Faria, get his best-selling Battle Tested Half Guard series for all of his gi secrets and if you're more of a No Gi player, check out Half Guard for No Gi series and learn directly from the Michael Jordan of half guard.