One of the best modifications to the traditional half guard used in grappling is a position called Z-guard. In the traditional half guard, the top leg is usually trapped behind the top opponent, which makes this position limited in its options. When using a knee shield in the half guard, meaning placing the shin of the top leg across the torso of the passer’s body, our defense and attack versatility increases drastically.
The Z-guard is very similar to the knee shield half guard except the top leg is more horizontal, lower, and the knee finds itself perfectly encapsulated by the passers hip. This guard is excellent for defense as it is difficult to remove its unique knee shield and is also a great position to attack from.
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Although the Z-guard has been around for a while, not many have been able to use it consistently in competition. Craig Jones is in the party of individuals who are capable of using it successfully. Although his physical stature does help him in this position, he also uses attacks that are intelligent, quick, and difficult to stop.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get opponents into Z-guard or difficult to keep them there. Fortunately for us, there are a variety of tools you can use to bait opponents into this awesome position. In the following video, Craig Jones demonstrates just how to do so.
Although Craig demonstrates the technique to bait his opponents to their weak side, the same concept can apply to either side. I would recommend practicing a lot of Z-guard on the weak side though because most grapplers will be less equipped to deal with it there.
Craig Jones exploded onto the scene with a creative and innovative approach to BJJ. The time to learn the Z-guard is NOW!