Half guard is one of the most commonly used positions regardless if you are a white belt or a black belt. It is widely regarded as one of the most effective guards across both no-gi and gi in Jiu-Jitsu. One of the very best practitioners of the half guard is none other than Tom DeBlass.
Half Domination By Tom DeBlass gives you a look at the techniques that DeBlass has used throughout his career. Tom found himself outweighed by his opponents much of his career. His usage of half guard is what helped him reach the heights that he has. DeBlass is a 3x ADCC Trials champion as well as a litany of other important titles including No-Gi Master 1 world champion!
One of the most overlooked aspects of half guard is the importance of framing. DeBlass mas mastered framing and how to best utilize it from within the half guard. Strong framing will keep you from getting smashed by your opponent. Passing the half guard usually involves flattening your opponent, framing can stop this. In Half Domination Deblass breaks down the finer details of framing and how to avoid getting smashed in the position.
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When first learning ANY position you will encounter common problems that most people will face. If you constantly self analyze the position you will start to see where you are making mistakes. A guard passer’s number one goal for passing half guard is to flatten the half guard player. Spoilers you will get flattened at some point! No worries let DeBlass help you out!
As you can see from the video, at times your half guard can get flattened and this is what it looks like. DeBlass forces a dilemma on his opponent. They either have to post their arm to avoid the reversal OR get swept. Keep this in mind when training so you can react accordingly to your opponent’s defense.
For the most part the person on top will do ANYTHING to stay on top. This will give us the post. As the opponent posts their hand to the mat to avoid the sweep this provides the space needed to utilize frames. Getting the opponent to feel threatened with the sweep is the first step. Tom utilizes his entire body to create momentum underneath of his opponent. His top leg swings towards underhook side as he pushes into his partner’s armpit/rib area, this gives you enough leverage to make your partner react. Now it’s crucial to NOT let them back on top of you.
DeBlass shifts his body away from his opponent after they post to the mat which opens up entries into the leg. From here he explains the plethora of leg attack opportunities but also describes coming up on top for the sweep. What he usually does, as he describes in the video, is he sets his half guard.
Tom’s strong use of frames allows him to dictate the rate of return for his opponent. He can slow down their movement by using strong framing positions. DeBlass will start to let his opponent to recover, only to have returned to his half guard. He does this by shifting back underneath of his opponent as they recover their base. A key factor in determining your success will be if you can connect your knee and elbow upon re-entry into the half guard. Keep those frames up!
In 3 minutes with Tom DeBlass you could totally revamp your half guard. Imagine what an entire dvd set could do for your game. Half Domination provides an in-depth look at one of the best half guard players of all-time, and gives you the techniques that helps DeBlass win 3 ADCC Trials!