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Three Sweeps From Half Guard Anyone can use
The half guard is one of the first guards many bjj practitioners are introduced to. Half guard has long been one of the most famous guards and has been proven effective at the highest levels of competition by the likes of Bernardo Faria, Demian Maia, and Lucas Leite. They all have their own take on half guard. Half guard is one of the best positions to learn because it is relatively simple; it is efficient, and effective. There are some principles that you should always follow when playing half guard and if you follow these principles, you can use half guard on anyone.
The half guard has long been infamous for being a relatively simple guard. Yes there are complex half guard systems, but the principles of half guard are simple to understand, and if you know what you have to do, it is easy to implement. When playing half guard you need to be on your side, you need an under hook, and you need to block the cross face. You cannot let your opponent flatten you out, get under hooks or cross face you. Once you know what to do you can play half guard and have a goal. All the best half guard players implement these principles.
The half guard is also extremely efficient. This is because you can use it in gi, nogi, and MMA, and you can get to half guard relatively easily. It is also efficient because you don’t need to exert much energy to play half guard and you don’t need to be acrobatic or flexible. The half guard is truly an “Old School” guard. Half guard is starting to become more and more popular because it does not require much athleticism and flexibility. Anybody can play it at any age, skill level, and fitness level. That is why it is important to learn, we are not always going to be young, agile or flexible, so better to learn half guard now.
Today we are going to take a look at three sweeps from the half guard that are super effective and anybody can use. They are taught by some of the best half guard player in the world so without further ado, let’s check them out.
Butt Kick Entrance to Single Leg Half Guard
This sweep is from Leonardo Saggioro “Cascao.” Cascao is one of the best half guard players in the world right now. He placed second at the Black Belt Adult World Championships losing only to 2017’s most accomplished bjj player, Cobrihna. The match was close. His sweeps work at the highest level and do not require any crazy athleticism. Let’s take a look at his sweep below and then discuss.
As you can see above this is a variation from a modified half guard that uses a lapel. This type of half guard was popularized by Bernardo Faria. It makes sense because Bernardo and Cascao were training partners for years. The lapel through the legs is always an excellent option in half guard. This is because it is difficult for your opponent to explode through and turn into you. It is an excellent way of controlling the distance. Once you get this lapel through their legs (and it is an easy grip to get) you can slow down the pace of a match and control your opponent.
Cascao uses a traditional butt kick to launch his opponent forward and then proceeds to get up into a dog fight position. He uses the collar to control his opponents head and break them down ultimately getting the sweep. Notice how Cascao off balances his opponent. He uses his hook to launch them forward and then this space allows him to get up all while controlling the lapel. This is an excellent sweep and it is easy to learn and easy to use.
If you would like to learn more Half Guard tricks from Cascao check out his new DVD set “Sweep The World.” You will literally learn how to sweep anybody and everybody. Cascao is one of the best and in the DVD he divulges all of his secrets.
Half Guard Sweep: Roll Variation from Dog Fight by Lucas Leite
Lucas Leite is also one of the best half guard players in the entire world. He has infamously competed at the ultra-heavyweight division of the IBJJF Black Belt World and made the podium even though he is outweighed by almost 100 lbs. Lucas has a very simple and effective take on the half guard. Let’s look at this sweep below that works hand in hand with Cascao’s sweep from above and then discuss.
As you can see in the video above Lucas is able to get up and get to dogfight from the half guard, this is because he has an underhook and uses it to get up. Once he gets up he acts like he is trying to double leg and topple his opponent, this is to create an action/reaction movement. When his opponent naturally pushes back into him he dives for the underhook on the leg and rolls him over effortlessly with no strength at all.
This is an old school sweep and has been used at the highest level successfully. This is what makes it so good, you are creating a reaction, in order to make it work you want to actually pressure into your opponent so they give you a real reaction when they push back and then just roll over. This is similar to over head sweeps from de la riva, spider, lasso, and other open guards. Push your opponent so that they push back.
If you want to learn more traditional half guard secrets from Lucas Leite check out his DVD “Coyote Half Guard.” This has been one of our bestselling instructional DVD’s for a long time and for good reason.
Countering the Underhook by Jake Mackenzie
Let’s have a look below on how to counter the underhook . If you’re playing half guard and somebody manages to get an underhook or a cross face this is bad news. Your opponent will be able to flatten you out, go chest to chest and smash your half guard. So what if you lost the underhook? Well, take a look at this video below on how to get it back with Jake Mackenzie.
This is one of the most important skills you can learn when learning half guard. Jake Mackenzie is one of the best half guard players in the world right now, he has used half guard to win some of the biggest tournaments at the adult black belt division in the IBJJF such as the Brazilian Nationals. Notice in the video how Jake launches his arm forward to create movement, once he is able to creat movement he is quick to get back his underhook. He uses fundamental movements to get back the underhook, all he is really doing is a diagonal bridge and then moving so that they can’t get an under hook again. If you would like to learn more from Jake Mackenzie check out his DVD set below. Jake plays an unorthodox reverse half guard and his DVD is a perfect supplement to either Cascao’s or Leite’s. The go hand in hand!