Half-guard when Opponent Faces Legs

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Sherdog_Mutt, Apr 28, 2008.

  1. Sherdog_Mutt

    Sherdog_Mutt Purple Belt

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    One of the most problematic areas for half-guard players like myself is when the top guy turns his back to you (facing your legs). It is easily the safest and most stable position that you can pass from in half-guard as there aren't exactly a lot of options for the half-guard player. In fact, this is always my first option for passing someone else's half-guard and I always tell noobs to pass from this position if they encounter a guy with a dangerous half-guard.

    Through the past 3+ years, I have been researching, experimenting and looking for effective options to use from this position. With considerable help from my teammate (a brown belt who posts on here as Shoyoroll), my instructor Tinguinha, and some assistance from Gordo, here's some of the best options that I have discovered. For the purposes of the sweeps below, I'm playing half guard on my right side (trapping the guy's right leg). The techniques below are placed in no particular order. However, #1 and #2 have been very high percentage for me.

    1) Modified Upa Sweep- This is also a great sweep option for whenever you lose the underhook battle and are cross faced by the guy (the harder the crossface the better cause he can't post that arm). This high percentage sweep usually starts with the half-guard player possesing a weak underhook (weak in the sense that the guy has turned his back to you so you can't try taking his back and the arm is in danger of getting kimura'd). I start by switching my half-guard. My left leg keeps his right leg trapped and starts stretching out his base (pulling his right leg to his right). This brings his left leg within easy reach of my right leg. I step over his left leg with my right and trapping it (just like traditional upa escape). I then post my left leg (releasing his trapped leg) and simultaneously bridging hard over my right shoulder. This is the highest percentage option I have found. It works great the majority of the time. At worst, I wind up on my knees in position to finish a double leg or single leg.

    2) Rolling over sweep- This used to be a low percentage sweep for me. However, my teammate Shoyoroll modified some of its details and it's now a high percentage option for me. Shove the top guy's left arm down and to the left with your left arm. Grab the pants of his untrapped leg at the knee with your right arm and force it in the same direction as the left arm. While keeping your grips, when you start encountering resistance from him, roll over your left shoulder (important to go in this direction). His own momentum from resisting you will cause him to go over for an easy sweep. If you're wondering what to do if he doesn't push back against your pushing, simply release half-guard and take his back.

    3) If he's completely facing your legs (no neck pressure at all on you), grab his head release the half-guard, bump hard towards him and immediately go flat on your stomach (killing the leverage he needs to sit up). If you pull this off, you get side control. This works best when the guy's head is up high. He can counter this sweep by ducking his head down and shifting his weight forward.

    4) Half-butterfly sweep- Not a high percentage option but an option nonetheless. I find that it works better if I unlock the trapped leg (you have to use an arm to keep the leg trapped) while you try and work the sweep. Experienced guys see it coming and will resist. Nonetheless, a good 50% of the time you'll wind up in a scramble which to me is preferable than just sitting back and waiting for the guy to pass your half-guard.

    5) Half-butterfly variation of #2. Same idea as #2 only you have your butterfly hook in. You shove the guy's left arm and untrapped leg down and to your left. You then use the butterfly hook to kick straight up and over your left shoulder (very important to go in that direction vs. going straight over your head). You should wind up in the other guy's guard if you sit up in time.

    6) Kimura or americana options- If the top guy goes for either one of these submissions while in your half-guard. Immediately shove your left arm into your side (his arms are pinned and can't post). Grab his left leg and roll him to your left.

    7) Return to closed guard/open guard- Best way to return to guard from here is to shove the guy's upper back down towards your legs. Release your half guard and start shrimping. Depending upon what he does, you wind up back in closed guard or open guard.

    Feedback is appreciated. Feel free to share if you have any other ideas or suggestions!
     
  2. Sherdog_Mutt

    Sherdog_Mutt Purple Belt

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    Oh yeah... I should mention that if you want to avoid this situation altogether. A ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Shove against the hip of his untrapped leg as soon as he tries to turn his back to you. You prevent him from entering this position altogether and are usually in position to play some deep half-guard.
     
  3. blanko

    blanko Guest

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  4. green_machine

    green_machine Orange Belt

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    Good stuff, thanks for posting. From the top I always pass half guard like that b/c I know how tough it is to defend. From the bottom, I've never seen #'s 1 and 2 so I'm going to try them out.
     
  5. Sherdog_Mutt

    Sherdog_Mutt Purple Belt

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    Blanko: Really cool vids! Thanks.

    It's not the same position I'm referring to though. I'm talking about when he has his right leg trapped and he turns to face your legs and has his left hip on top of you.
     
  6. blanko

    blanko Guest

    that's what i figured but eh.. can't hurt hehehe
     
  7. blanko

    blanko Guest

    when someone switches base to pass my guard i usualy go for the helicopter sweep or just shrimp out to his back while pushing his elbow away from me.
     
  8. BCarr

    BCarr Blue Belt

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    I like to swing under and go for an electric-chair-type sweep. You have to really slice your hand underneath his outside leg and remember to pull your head to his leg, not try to pull his leg with your hand.

    From that grip, you can work your way to an electric chair situation or swing your outside foot either around his head, or push his head away and tuck your knee underneath him, and go for a kneebar. If the kneebar is loose, then try to trap the leg and go for a toe hold.
     
  9. Sherdog_Mutt

    Sherdog_Mutt Purple Belt

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    Bcarr: Thanks for the suggestion. In the position I'm referring to the top guy has his left hip on you and his right leg trapped. I'm having trouble picturing how you can enter an electric chair position (deep half-guard). Could you explain your entry a little bit more? Thanks.
     
  10. Zankou

    Zankou Bringing peace and love Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I think he is thinking you can underhook the free leg with your arm. However that is not possible if your opponent is playing this position right -- you will have much more luck hooking it with your leg than arm.

    As for the rest of the thread, I am going to take my time to absorb and visualize the half guard goodness!
     
  11. Sherdog_Mutt

    Sherdog_Mutt Purple Belt

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    That's what I thought he meant.

    Let me know how sweeps 1 and 2 work out for you. They literally revitalized my half-guard as nearly all of my teammates had been resorting to this position to pass my half-guard.
     
  12. Zankou

    Zankou Bringing peace and love Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I have some comments on those two. Here they are:

    Comment: I've seen this on the Jen set, and I've used it with success. For whatever reason, my brain seems to have forgotten it recently. My one question is this: arm position. Where are you keeping your arms?

    Comment: I enjoy this sweep, super slick, though I usually use it as a momentum sweep off a z-guard scissor sweep attempt. Do you really get this when he has his back to you? And how are you getting control of his left arm? I take it you have both arms behind the back, and are not leaving one behind as an underhook? I'm not understanding the arm positioning.

    In general, I've been avoiding this position because my game has mutated into more of a quarter guard/half butterfly/z guard lately. I've decided that with my build, I just don't like scooting under my opponent, unless it's for deep half guard. So people haven't been putting it on me as much.
     
  13. StevieSparkZ

    StevieSparkZ Green Belt

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    Zankou, I've been into half guard a lot myself but quarter guard is gi only right? So would your no gi game be half butterfly/z guard only or...
     
  14. Zankou

    Zankou Bringing peace and love Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I almost never roll no-gi, but when I do it's a more basic game -- z guard, regular underhook half guard, and deep half guard.
     
  15. BeRGLeZ

    BeRGLeZ Ramenbowl

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    Omg wow. I was about to make a thread on this LOL!
    #1 and #2 sound logical and effective.. I'll have to try it out! I play alot of half guard and that very pass shuts me down every time.
    Cheers dude!
     
  16. Sherdog_Mutt

    Sherdog_Mutt Purple Belt

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    Zankou: Sorry about the confusion. I re-read my post and I noticed how I was really vague about arm positioning.

    For #1, I keep my "weak underhook" with my left arm and my right hand is gripping his left knee. I like to set up my sweep by making a half-hearted attempt to roll the guy to my left (lifting up the left leg) and rolling my hips a bit to the left. They usually overreact to this putting them in great position for the sweep and I quickly switch over to the #1 sweep.

    For #2, i grip the guy's left elbow with my left hand and have a grip on the guy's left leg at the knee. I know the z-guard sweep that you're referring to and the mechanics are similar. Believe it or not, I have been nailing this sweep at a high percentage. It just surprises the hell out of guys cause they don't expect someone to try an over the head roll while in half-guard.
     
  17. Aesopian

    Aesopian Brown Belt

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    Those #1 and #2 sound very promising. I'll be drilling those next chance I get. Thanks!

    My two best counters come from Mike Sweeney of SBG Canada and Kesting's half guard DVD.

    Since the names #1 and #2 are taken, I'll call mine...

    A) Trapping their right leg. They turn but don't have the crossface. Make sure my elbows jammed into their back so they can't scoot up and trap my arms over my head. I reach down with my right hand and grab their left (untrapped) ankle. My right leg stays crossed over their ankle and I put in my left butterfly hook. Lift with my butterfly hook, lift their ankle, shrimp my hips under them and come out behind them, taking the back (or at least having them spin back into my guard).

    B) Turn on my right side and get myself propped up on my right elbow. My left hand grabs the belt (if it's gi) and the elbow keeps jamming into their back. I wait for the moment when they free their leg, then I shrimp up, pulling my right knee up and throw them to my left, coming up behind them and taking their back.

    Great topic, keep it going.
     
  18. StevieSparkZ

    StevieSparkZ Green Belt

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    For option B, what would you do if it's no gi and there is no belt to grab?
     
  19. ShanghaiBJJ

    ShanghaiBJJ Brown Belt

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    Thanks for posting these Sherdog_Mutt.

    Here are some questions I have.

    How do you keep him from gaining mount? I actually wait for my opponent to try to Upa me, when I am in this position on top. How do you ensure he rolls with you? Is it the grip on the left leg?

    I try to avoid rolling to top when someone goes for the Kimura, as they can finish it easier from bottom than from top half.
    I actually learned that when you attack from top, you roll to bottom to finish...

    Comment?

    THX


    B
     
  20. tudor_bjj

    tudor_bjj Purple Belt

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    Zankou, what's your build? And why exactly did you give up scooting under the opponent?
     

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