Compared to many other traditional open guards used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the half guard is probably the best one to attack leg locks from. This is true for both the guard player and the grappler on top.
When you contrast half guard to the closed guard, you’ll notice that both grapplers are significantly more mobile. This is because one is essentially free because it is not busy locking with the other leg.
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Due to the more freedom we have in half guard, maneuvering our legs around make attacking leg locks easier. Also, compared to guards like de la riva and spider guard, you are a lot closed to your opponent making the various leg engagements easier to acquire.
The most common leg locks used from half guard are toe holds and knee bars. The most common way to enter leg entanglements is either by rotating around the legs for the top player or swinging the top player to their opposite side for the bottom player.
In the following video, Neil Melanson will illustate a very unique and crazy leg lock attack from top half guard. See below:
Neil Melanson is a grappling expert and is the head grappling instructor at Xtreme Couture Las Vegas and Alliance MMA. Neil’s style is clearly different than most grapplers and he incorporates elements from different style to create the ultimate submission game.
Although this leg attack resembles a submission you might see in WWE, it’s actually still effective in Jiu Jitsu and is a very painful leg attack as well. More importantly, this is a very difficult position to escape and even if the defender manages an escape, they are exposing their back.
For the finishing part of this submission, you can use a wide variety of grips. Personally, the best grip that I found to work for ankle locks is the guillotine grip. I find the figure four grip to be inferior specifically. When using the guillotine grip, it’s important to keep it super tight and lift your hands to the point where they are at your chest.
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