The Easiest Half Guard Sweep Ever
Whether you are new to grappling or a seasoned veteran looking to add some new positions to your game, the half guard from the bottom can be a great addition to your guard game if it isn't already. Once thought of as a way to prevent the inevitable guard pass and desperately cling on to your opponent, the half guard has now become a more widely used position at all levels of competition.
When looking at all of the current and most frequently used types of guard out there, half guard is one of the simplest, most dependable and easily one of the most formidable guards a person on the bottom can employ. When using half guard, you are extremely strong. Your hips and knee shield can support a great deal of weight and pressure from your opponent. This alone makes the guard extremely strong.
By being on your side, not only are you able to withstand a great deal of pressure with the strength of your legs and hips, but just the downward force of the opponent is greatly diminished when you are on your side. With the half guard's built in ability to withstand pressure, it also allows you to keep your hips and legs relatively mobile which makes it easy to set and reset the position, should the opponent begin to move past your guard.
Not only are your legs both engaged as powerful weapons in half guard, your top leg as a shield and your bottom leg as a hook, you still have the full ability to use your hands and arms as additional lines of defense. The knee shield side arm is typically used to frame against the upper body, neck and even throat of your opponent to further fortify the knee shield and diminish the amount of forward and downward pressure that can be applied.
The bottom side arm is used as a sensor and blocking agent against the cross face of the opponent on the top. By keeping a safe distance and blocking the bicep on that cross facing arm, you will best prevent the opponent from flattening you out and moving completely past your knee shield and stretching you out, making it very difficult to prevent the eventual pass.
For more on the relative simplicity of the half guard position for anyone to take advantage of, check out this article from BJJ Fanatics. There are also a number of variations of half guard, that once you've begun to mastered the standard position, you will want to check out.
In the video below, fresh off filming his latest and soon to be released instructional focused on his No Gi half guard game, Bernardo Faria shows an ultra easy sweep using a two on one grip from bottom half. Check it out and we'll break it down afterwards!
Knee Shield Variation
Bernardo details how this variation of bottom half guard and knee shield are different than his gi variation. In his gi variation, he uses a shield that is more vertical, with his knee angled towards the shoulder. In this variation, the knee is kept lower and driving into their hip and abdominal area. The feet are kept connected and the knee is kept driving into their stomach.
This knee shield variation can provide a very powerful answer to the opponent who likes to lace their arm down between the shield and the bottom leg and drive their shoulder and pressure into the shield hoping to crush it. By keeping them at a further distance and also driving straight into their abdomens the downward pressure can be minimized and their aim to crush the shield thwarted.
Two on One Grip
Borrowing a two on one grip that he was exposed to during his many years working with and teaching alongside his mentor Marcelo Garcia, he uses it to dominate and control the shield side arm of the opponent. Beginning with two hands on the wrist, he quickly adjusts to a palm up grip on the end of the wrist and a "pinching" controlling grip at the elbow or tricep area with the other hand. This control makes it extremely difficult for the opponent to free their arm and allows you to essentially "hang" your weight on them.
Stretch and Kick Through
To begin the sweep, the two on one grip is used to drag the opponent forward and away at an angle. Simultaneously, the leg that is serving as the knee shield kicks through allowing you to wrap your outside arm around the single leg of your opponent. Though he is focused on this simple and effective sweep, Bernardo also points out that there are other sweeps and back takes available from this position.
Single Leg and Finish
Once the single leg is wrapped, it is simply a step and rotation of the nearside knee that allows you to take the opponent over and begin establishing a dominate positional change, which if done quickly will yield top mount and from there you can begin working your top attacks.
If you have never worked half guard before, this would be an extremely simple and high percentage sweep to add to your game. If you have been using traditional high knee shield half guard or Z guard, this is a great variation of half guard, using the driving and penetrating style of knee shield which can prevent the shield from being easily smashed by the opponent's shoulder and downward pressure.
Another key takeaway from this technique by Bernardo is the use of the two on one grip. This is reminiscent also of Jay Wadsworth's "double sleeve" grip he uses in his 92 Double Sleeve Guard instructional available here from BJJ Fanatics! This easy to establish and extremely controlling grip can add a new layer of complexity to other moves within your game to keep your opponent controlled and frustrated and worried more about the grip than what might be happening otherwise.
While you're waiting for the new release of Bernardo Faria's upcoming series focusing on his world class No Gi Half Guard game, check out his best selling "Battle Tested Half Guard" 4 volume series, available here from BJJ Fanatics!