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Two 50/50 Submissions from Fernando Reis
In the history of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competition, the 50/50 guard is a relatively new style in the last decade or so with the rise in it's use in the competition arena, though it has not developed without it's share of controversy. Like many techniques or positions, the initial genesis may be hazy or even accidental, eventually a practitioner or particular academy will see an opportunity to flesh out the position and create amazing systems with passes, sweeps and submissions all built from what may have once been an simple accident or even a mistake.
The 50/50 guard is achieved when both competitors have their legs entwined perfectly so as to provide no clear advantage to either participant, leaving the same opportunity for submissions or sweeps. The actual genesis of the position in unclear, although there is footage from 1997 when Saulo Ribeiro was battling Roleta in a classic match and Saulo entwined his legs in a 50/50 style guard to help prevent Roleta's guard pass. Another classic and early usage of 50/50 was in 2004 when Roger Gracie and Jacare found themselves in the position.
It wasn't until the Mendes Brothers brought their creative influence to the sport that the 50/50 position began to develop and spread in popularity in the competitive arena. But with any development of strategy, there can also be controversy as the position helped influence the shape of BJJ for the coming years, much to the ire of fans who simply did not favor the appearance of stalling in these matches. There were matches that were made up nearly entirely with two competitors locked in the 50/50 guard which not much more than toe hold attempts being mounted. This phenomenon led to eventual IBJJF rule changes to inspire competitors to push the action and be more active.
In the video below, 7 time Brazilian National Champion, Fernando Reis demonstrates two very powerful submissions that can be used from the 50/50 guard. So rather than staying in the position and stallling or hoping to win via a sweep, you can ensure the finish by utilizing this unique straight ankle lock or the arm bar.
First Fernando demonstrates two different entries into the the position, first by entering into De La Riva and utilizing a classic De La Riva Sweep to bring the opponent down into the 50/50 and secondly if someone passes and establishes a dominate knee on belly position.
50/50 Achilles Lock
Once the 50/50 guard is established, your inside knee is used to put pressure on their thigh which opens up space to bring your arm, mainly your wrist bone to a strategic position on their achilles tendon or back of their calf. From there, you grab your own lapel to control the leg. Your foot that crosses their thigh steps onto the opponent's hip to prevent them from rolling towards you to release the pressure. The elbow is then brought tight to control the leg even more. The far arm that is not controlling the opponent's leg is then put out to base and the outside leg is flared out rotating your entire body, while keeping your chest puffed and extended. The leg lock is finished by arching slightly backwards.
50/50 Arm Lock
In the case of the arm lock, if the opponent attempts to close the 50/50 and not allow you to get the control on their shin, you can establish a sleeve grip, while pressing your crossing leg or inside leg into their armpit on that same arm that you have sleeve control on. This allows you to free your outside leg and move it outside of their arm.
Once this sort of spider-50/50 guard is established the inside leg can be rotated across the opponent while pushing on their knee and pulling the sleeve grip towards you. It is important to reach with a cross grip to establish two on one on the opponent's arm. From here the arm lock is almost secure and by pinching the knees together and taking the far leg over the opponent's head, they are now trapped and forced to tap.
Like most techniques and positions, there will be seasons of popularity that will ebb and flow and for the 50/50 guard, the ebbs and flows have been quite dramatic. The key to remember when studying any position is to find the elements of the position that work for your game and also fit the particular rule set you are training for and ideally, maintain the original integrity of sport jiu jitsu which holds the submission in the highest of regards. With these techniques from Fernando Reis, you can be sure that you are fulfilling the latter requirement.
Fernando Reis has a very unique game that is unlike most of what is being taught in the US. His "Folding System" available here in an easy to follow 4 DVD set, will revolutionize how you pass, sweep and submit your opponents. Check it out here for only $77 today!