The Basic Half Guard Position That Prevents The Smash Pass
Half Guard Basic Positioning by Jake Mackenzie
In the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there is no guard as notorious as half guard. Half guard is so widely used because of its versatility. It is a great position to attack and defend from, often opening yourself up for great sweeps, submissions, or transitions into a variety of positions. Half guard is also popular because it is so easy to learn and can be effective even for a person with limited experience. Having said that though, the half guard is also one of those techniques that though easy to learn is difficult to master. There are tons of details, concepts, tips and techniques from some of the world’s greatest BJJ players on what it takes to have a good half guard. Many of these details have to do with positioning. Today we are going to look at basic half guard positioning with Jake Mackenzie. Watch the video below and then we will discuss Jake’s technique. Check it out!
How you position yourself determines whether your half guard is difficult to deal with or can be smash passed with ease. The smash pass is definitely one of the biggest weapons a half guard player will have to deal with.
Jake Mackenzie starts off in the traditional half guard position. He prefers not to use the knee shield and has slightly different grips than you would expect. Mackenzie starts by controlling his opponent’s hip by grabbing his belt and then gets his outside knee up in his opponent’s arm pit. This gives him a free arm for attacking. Jake uses this arm to control his opponent’s other arm, grabbing at the back of the elbow. He pulls his training partner’s arm in to stay nice and tight. Mackenzie takes his opponent’s head off line by pushing with his knee in the arm pit, creating negative space. From here he shoots in for the under hook and circles off to the side, keeping his head underneath his training opponent. When Mackenzie secures the low under hook he grabs around his opponent’s shin, and puts his shoulder forward, giving himself a much more solid base. It is very important to remember that you want to keep your toes on the mat with your heel pointed to the ceiling when locking up the triangle with your legs.
These are some great tips from Jake Mackenzie on half guard positioning. What I like the most about this is that you does not use the traditional knee shield and instead utilizes a low under hook to secure his opponent tight. Keep these tips in mind the next time you are working your half guard! The way you position your body is very important.
Bernardo Faria knows a thing or two about smash passing and how to deal with smash passers in half guard. In fact, these two elements are a huge part of Bernardo's game. He has a DVD on the Battle Tested Half Guard should be your "bible" on how to fight from the half guard position from one of the greatest grapplers who has ever lived.