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Make the Knee Shield Disappear with Lachlan Giles
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Make the Knee Shield Disappear with Lachlan Giles

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The half guard. Whether you’re completely green, just getting started on the mats, or a seasoned veteran, the half guard is certain to make an appearance in any BJJ experience. You may even start out by arriving there on accident like I did. The result of failed attempts to keep someone in my closed guard. For many, this is a favored position, whether passing or playing the bottom, there’s a lot of half guard players out there that prefer the position to any other guard. And there’s plenty of reasons why.

Let’s talk about passing the half guard today. There’s a pretty good mix of varied danger present when we’re trying to pass. The half guard in particular is well known for its incredibly useful structure and framing properties. Building this type of structure underneath a guard passer can make things very difficult for anyone that’s looking to get around the guard. We have to systematically break down the defenses, keep our weight in a safe place, and work past the half guard with some good mechanical details. 

Speaking of details, Lachlan Giles is one of the most detail-oriented instructors on the planet. His teaching is packed full of amazing intricacies, that I’ve found incredibly helpful in my quest to tighten up my overall game. His half guard passing is no exception. Giles is a wizard when it comes to incrementally deconstructing the half guard, the knee shield, and all of the other challenges you’ll face when trying to pass. In this video, Giles gives us a great breakdown on how to pass this ever so common form of the guard with precision and phenomenal specifics. Don’t miss this one. Even if you’re not a half guard player, you’re going to need some tools in the arsenal so you don’t succumb to its sorcery. Have a look!

 

You’ll find a good knee shield at the center of every proficient half guard. There a few different ways to implement the knee shield, and even more ways to deal with it. This is where Giles begins, and today he is specifically referring to a low knee shield. Giles beings by hugging the far hip and dropping his weight down on his partner’s thighs, creating a sandwiching effect and pinching the legs together. With his leg still trapped by his partner’s half guard hook, Giles now looks to slide his knee in toward that hook. This opens up some space and actually exposes the half guard hook. With the hook exposed, its now very easy for Giles to pommel his right leg up and over the hook, clearing it, and pinning it to the ground. 

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 Giles will now look to block his partners bottom knee with his outside leg. He does this in conjunction with using his outside arm’s hand to secure his partners elbow. With these two body parts locked down, Giles now transitions his head to the opposite side of his partner’s body and then begins to roll his outside hip to the mat, passing the legs and clearing himself from the half guard. I absolutely love this. Its very smooth and quite simple to follow. 

Now for some contingencies…

As Giles explains, often, as the guard player feels they are losing position, they will funnel Giles into a standard half guard scenario. This keeps Giles inside the guard, but now, there is no threat of the knee shield. It’s now a relatively simple path to a basic half guard pass where Giles will walk the hips over, switch his head to the other side and begin trying to free his foot from in between his partner’s legs.  

If Giles is presented with a knee shield that’s riding a bit shallower, he changes things up just a bit. This kind of shield can create a bit more distance than Giles is comfortable with. To deal with this, He simply grabs the bottom of the leg and positions his head on his partner’s torso. As he lifts the knee off of the mat, he begins to walk backward toward the knee shield and clears it out of his path with his chest. This is a small problem that can really grow into something larger if you don’t deal with it properly. With these three ideas in place, Giles can switch back and forth between all of the options to eventually make the pass stick. 

Understating the difference between the high and low knee shield as the passer is incredibly important. We have to know which formula is best for which scenario. This is a great tutorial with e some very minor adjustments that can really help us deal with that low knee shield! Thank you, Lachlan Giles!


Lachlan Giles is one of the BEST teachers around. His YouTube channel has helped grapplers across the globe. The Guard Passing Anthology: Half Guard By Lachlan Giles is easily one of the best resources available ANYWHERE. Giles has world class technique matched with UNPARALLELED teaching ability!

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