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Upgrade Your Half Guard With This Video By The Crafty Neil Melanson

Upgrade Your Half Guard With This Video By The Crafty Neil Melanson


Bottom Half Guard Overview by Neil Melanson

Who is Neil Melanson? Neil could easily be considered one of the most dangerous men on the planet. Neil was the head coach of the infamous Blackzillians MMA Team and Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture gym. He has coached some of the best UFC fighters to ever compete to the pinnacle of the sport including Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, Randy Couture, Matt Mitrione and many more. His students have given him high praise. Chael Sonnen said, “Neil would slap Rickson Gracie around like it was easy.” Jiu Jitsu black belt and former UFC Champion Vitor Belfort stated that “Neil could triangle anybody in any room.”

Learn what Catch Wrestling Can Do For Your Game. Click Learn More!


Neil boasts a unique education when it comes to grappling.  He began his education at the Hayastan School where he learned techniques from Catch Wrestling, Judo and Sambo from world renowned coaches Gene Lebel and Gokor Chivichyan. His grappling style is a combination of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Catch Wresting and Sambo. He is the living embodiment of the Bruce Lee quote, "Absorb what is useful. Reject what is useless. Add what is essentially your own.”

Beyond his impressive education and grappling abilities, Neil is an extremely capable teacher. He takes a meticulous approach and breaks down the details so that it can be easily understood by even the grappling novice.


In this video Neil Melanson explores several key principles of half guard. The first element that Neil explores is range. He states that it is important to stay tight on our opponent. If our opponent is striking we can always move away to avoid a punch. However, if we play with poor range then it opens up a lot of pockets for control for our opponent. Also, a poor range can severely limit our options. One example is poor range can limit our abilities to scramble. Being balled up is key. The second element that Melanson explores is we should have good control of our bottom leg.  The inside crook of our bottom leg should be tight on the mat.  One example of poor bottom leg control is if they turn the corner and connect their knee to our hip. We should always free the bottom leg from this position and have control of the bottom leg. A third key battle is for our bottom side arm. Often, the focus for grapplers is for under hook control. Neil states there are many good options with either the over hook or the under hook. However, we are in a world of trouble if we grant control of the bottom side arm. One benefit of having control of our bottom side arm is that it allows us to post.  Neil notes that we should never be too heavy on that post though because it is hard to get up.  It is interesting to note that when Neil was positioning in the video that he maintained a cross grip on his training partners far side arm to protect the bottom hand. Melanson also states that half guard sweeps should be explosive. It is easy to develop bad habits in half guard that will make us suffer with better opponents.  Melanson closes with a theme of half guard that follows one of the general rules of grappling. It is important to stay active and have our opponents reacting to us. We should never want to play a reactive game in half guard. MMA competitions are an example of this. In MMA if we are not actively engaging our opponent they can always get up and take the fight back to our feet. Certainly, this is very frustrating for any grappler. This short video will definitely pay huge dividends in half guard. Thank you Neil Melanson.

Many consider Neil Melanson to be a mad scientist of grappling. This sequence is a fine testament to that. His approach is not based on a singular style but a hybrid of many approaches. He is obsessed with independent and free thinkers like Nicola Tesla and his style of grappling is a brilliant testament to that.  If you have ever seen Neil’s instructional videos then you certainly understand what we mean. If you have not had the privilege, click on the link below to learn the forgotten secrets of the Guillotine – from the most deadly Catch Wrestler on earth, Neil Melanson.

Learn what Catch Wrestling Can Do For Your Game. Click Learn More!




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