The Principles Of The Knee Shield For BJJ
The Knee Shield Is Your First Line Of Defense On Half Guard Bottom And Your First Obstacle On Half Guard Top
If you have spent any time on the mats at all then you are probably familiar with the knee shield. But do you know the story behind the knee shield? Popularized by Roberto Correa in the early days of competition, the half guard may have never come into existence if it weren’t for his injury at the time. That is right. One of the most fundamental concepts in all of BJJ came from an injury. Years later we see competitors like Bernardo Faria who are masters of the half guard and use it all the time. Other high level BJJ guys like Tom DeBlass and Lucas Leite have based much of their style off the use of the knee shield.
Takedowns are one of Yuri’s specialties. He was even able to take down Olympic Judo silver medalist Travis Stevens in competition – which nobody expected.
The knee shield is great for being defensive from bottom half, and can be a nuisance to deal with from top. So today we will look at the knee shield from angles, defense and offense. Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Knee Shield Basics by Bernardo Faria
Bernardo Faria is a 5x World Champion. Bernardo Faria is going to demonstrate the knee shield technique from half guard. If there is one position Bernardo is notorious for it is half guard knee shield. Watch the video below and then we will break down Bernardo’s half guard knee shield technique. Check it out now!
First we will look at the knee shield basics. Bernardo Faria prefers to teach the half guard starting from knee shield, which is a more common position to be in, especially if an opponent has just broken down your full guard. As Faria explains, the knee shield is effective for keeping your training partner’s weight off of your body. It also allows you to control the space between you and your opponent. Think of the knee shield like a seat belt going across your opponent’s chest from the hip to his shoulder. It is important to remember to use your foot to hook your partner’s ribs. This really helps you control where you opponent can move. When you have the knee shield you usually use a cross collar grip and control your training partner’s gi sleeve or wrist to start setting up sweeps, transitions, and submissions.
How To Kill The Knee Shield by Yuri Simoes
Now that we have a full understanding of what the knee shield is and how to do it, let’s take a look at how to deal with the knee shield from top half guard. Yuri Simoes is a high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Ricardo Vieira. Yuri has won the IBJJF Mundial, World No Gi championship, European open, and the ADCC in 2015. Yuri is a seasoned veteran and also a very good teacher. Today we are going to look at how to kill to knee shield with Yuri Simoes. Watch the video below and then we will break down Yuri’s technique. Check it out now!
Yuri Simoes controls his training partner’s bottom leg using his arm in his training partner’s knee. From here he kicks his leg back and clears his opponent’s leg allowing him to sit on his opponent’s leg. He moves up his training partner’s body in order to secure the under hook. From here Simoes either gets double under hooks or arm and head control. Yuri controls his opponent’s leg using his hook. Then he will keep climbing up his training partner’s body until he can isolate the arm for an arm bar. Keep in mind the entire time he is transitioning up the body he is using pressure and controlling the limbs. Another option is to get the under hook and pass to your training partner’s back side in order to take his back.
2 on 1 from Knee Shield by Bernardo Faria
You are probably thinking to yourself, “the knee shield is great, but how do I prevent getting stuffed and getting my guard passed?” Well, there are some great sweeps you can hit off a knee shield. Here Bernardo Faria demonstrates one of his favorite sweeps, the 2 on 1 from the knee shield. Let’s check it out! Watch the video below then we will break down the technique.
Bernardo uses the 2 on 1 knee shield from half guard to set up his single leg half guard. Bernardo is methodical with his approach to setting up the knee shield. His leg is tight against his opponent’s body. He uses his foot as a hook on his back, and his knee is tight on the upper chest. Then he controls the neck and biceps. When Bernardo is competing in no gi he prefers to cross his legs in half guard which prevents his opponent from an easy pass. This gives Bernardo the ability to switch his opponent’s arm to the inside. From here he grips under the wrist and then behind the elbow. Notice how now his training partner’s arm is completely stuck. Bernardo can easily follow it wherever he moves. Now all Bernardo has to do is push his training partner’s arm to get for the single leg.
The knee shield is usually your first line of defense when you are playing half guard bottom, and your first obstacle when passing. Even though it is a very fundamental technique, it is important to study it as much as possible in order to learn really precise technique. A poor knee shield is going to get stuffed every time. It does not even take a lot to pass a bad knee shield, I have seen brand new white belts do it to blue belts simply because of sloppy technique. Save yourself the embarrassment and drill the knee shield as much as you can! Grab a partner and take a corner of the mat and take turns trying to sweep, pass or submit from the knee shield. This makes a really great warm up ahead of class, so be sure to give it a try!