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One Position to Rule Them All from John Danaher
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One Position to Rule Them All from John Danaher

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The fundamental underpinnings of jiu jitsu are built upon the notion of utilizing leverage and angles to be able to gain maximum control over an opponent's body, while expending minimal effort or strength.

In this excerpt from his HALF GUARD PASSING AND DYNAMIC PINS installment of the Go Further Faster Series, John Danaher is back to show how through the proper comportment of our bodies in relation to the opponents, we can nullify a whole host of offensive and escape options.

Check out the video, THE FUNDAMENTAL STARTING POSITION for yourself and we'll break it down in detail afterwards.  If you can't wait, go ahead and grab the series HALF GUARD PASSING AND DYNAMIC PINS at the Buy Now link below.

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Mind the Gap

In typical John Danaher manner, the problem or problems that the position or technique or remedy are first laid out to make sure that we are able to carefully address each aspect of the problem.

For Danaher, when passing an opponent's Half Guard, we need to be mindful of the opponent's elbow escape to allow them to reestablish guard, the ability to utilize knee levers to sweep us side to side, the ability to bridge into us to also sweep us backwards, their use of the underhook to be able to establish sweeps or back attacks, and finally their ability to get onto their sides in general which makes them much more difficult to control.

By focusing on the relation of our free knee to the opponent's hips, we can eliminate their ability to elbow escape and re-establish guard.  According to John Danaher, this is by far the most common form of resistance we're going to face when passing half guard. By keeping the knee connected and pointing towards the hip, we eliminate all of the necessary space.

The knee of the leg that is captured is also crucial to have in the proper position.  If one keeps that knee planted on the ground, it makes it much easier for the opponent to utilize a "knee lever" to take us to the side.  The hip of the knee that is on the outside, must also not rest on the mat or be extended to far, because this will open up the power of the bridge and allow our opponents to sweep us backwards.

As The Fundamental Starting Position starts to take full form, Danaher secures a crossface on his opponent keeping his hand behind the back and his shoulder directed into their face.  This on top of the proper positioning of the outside knee towards the hip and the trapped knee turned off the mat has already nullified most of the escape opportunities.  The addition of the cocked foot that can act as a spring of the outside leg will be crucial to both prevent the bridge that could topple us backwards and will also play into the flattening of their shoulders to the mat.

The Danger of the Naive Cross Face

Now it's time to address the upright shoulder off the mat which can be especially detrimental when coupled with a deep, high-reaching underhook.  Many people naively believe that it is the power of the cross face that will put our opponents to the mat and keep them there, but in actuality, when the opponent is on their side we must use our body to move the opponent, turning their hips to get the shoulder to the mat.

By using the cocked foot that we have to prevent the opponent from bridging into us and walking our legs towards our opponent, we are able to turn their hips from being one on the mat and one in the air to both being flat on the mat.  This allows us to then put their shoulders on the mat and secure them with the cross face.

 Let's do a quick recap of all of the key position details to make sure you've got your bases covered and their escapes nullified.

First, you need to keep your outside knee close to and pointing at their hips to remove the space needed to prevent the classic elbow escape.  

Secondly, the knee that is trapped in their half guard must be off the ground to prevent their ability to use a knee lever to topple us over.

Third, the foot on your outside leg needs to be cocked so that it can serve as a spring to drive back into the opponent, should they try to bridge into us and sweep us backwards.

Fourth, our outside arm needs to secure a cross face on the opponent.  This also helps prevent their ability to bridge up and into us to topple us back.

Fifth, we must be mindful of their shoulder and hip position and if they are able to get themselves to their sides and/or underhook us, we must have the ability to nullify that underhook and replace their shoulders back to the mat.  We accomplish this by walking our legs and hips back into them rotating the hip from an upright position to a flat position.  When this is accomplished their shoulders naturally will lower allowing us to pin them with the cross face more effectively.  To further nullify the power of their underhook, if we keep our heads down on the mat on the side that they have underhooked, it will have virtually no power.

Having one position from which to safely launch our HALF GUARD PASSING game that quickly and efficiently nullifies nearly all of the potential hazards that we may face is extremely powerful.  In this quick video, John Danaher outlines a way to comport your body that would literally take you years to develop through trial and error.  If you've got the time, have at it.  But why recreate the wheel when he's got it broken down for us in such digestible chunks.  Add this to your HALF GUARD game and Go Further Faster than you ever thought possible.

For more from this series, check out John Danaher's Half Guard Passing and Dynamic Pins available from BJJ Fanatics.  You can get yours here or at the Buy Now Link below!

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