The half guard position has enjoyed quite a rise in popularity over the last several years. It seems to evolve and become more dynamic by the minute.
This Is for good reason, as the half offers so much in terms of applicability for players of all shapes and sizes. Its attributes are many and the half guard can be employed as a platform to transition, reverse, submit, as well as a whole host of other favorable concepts.
World Class Level Half Guard Instruction! Click Learn More below!
I personally prefer the position for reasons of size. I am a smaller guy, and I found early on that I experienced a great deal of difficulty keeping my closed guard from being opened. Whether or not that’s the product of my own poor technique or not, the fact remains that these experiences pushed me to play different guards where I felt I could bear someone’s weight and work a little bit smarter instead of harder. I eventually gravitates towards the half guard because I found controlling one of my opponent’s legs and that particular side of the body instead of someone’s entire body being inside of my legs felt a little more efficient.
When we speak about the half guard, certain names seem to always continuously surface. One of those names is Lucas Leite. Leite has changed the face of the half guard game with his simple, yet brilliant technique and continues to aid in the process of the evolution of the position.
The coyote half guard instructional changed the game for me. It shed light on some of the things I had been struggling with, particularly on the dogfight position. I was used to trying to bully to bully my way through that particular position and never really observed any of the finer details on what made it tick. When I first began using the techniques from Leite’s instructional, I noticed an instant change in my success rate from the dogfight and the half guard in general.
If you’ve never view anything from Leite’s earlier release, take a second to watch this. This particular video completely changed how I attempt reversals from the dogfight position.
In what appears to be a standard half guard setting, Leite comes up for an under hook. It’s here that things get a little more creative. Leite’s right leg is controlling his partner’s bottom leg, but he’s going to make a switch. He passes off his partners bottom leg to his top foot, scooping it with his heel, pulling it away from his partner, and shelving it on his calf. He then releases his bottom leg and comes up to his knees. Here, he pinches his knees tight together, eliminating the chance for his partner to remove his leg.
This is where I was having trouble. Sometimes when we get to this position, it can feel like it’s a race to see who pushes the other person over first. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I see it all the time. And sometimes if the person you’re attempting to reverse is much larger than you, they can overpower you here. What Leite does differently changes all of that.
First, he takes a grip on the pants near the knee on his partner far leg. Ready for the magic? He then elevates his partners leg from the mat and begins to rotate, collapsing his partners base. This detail alone will make your success rate from here skyrocket. When we use this type of mechanic, its almost as if your partner must take the sweep or suffer a knee injury. This is amazing work.
With the new release of Leite’s no gi instructional on the horizon, I can’t help but be excited to see how he will adapt his instruction for a no gi setting. I’m a huge fan of no gi and the half guard, so I am particularly antsy waiting for the release. Let’s take a look at a sneak peek from the new instructional. In this video Leite teaches us a knee slice counter to the back. Incredibly useful in no gi, as the knee slice is a huge player in the no gi passing game. Take a look!
This is interesting to me. I font think I’ve ever attempted to come up for an under hook in the half guard when the passer is this far in to the knee slice. I’m honestly not sure why, bit this option is definitely intriguing. I guess I always felt that if the knee slice was this far along, that the opportunity to come up for the under hook wasn’t available.
Lucas Leite Is Here To Improve Your Guard Game! Click Learn More below!
So, as Leite’s partner pops his knee up on the Leite’s bottom leg and begins to come forward, Leite release his knee shield and takes advantage of the forward momentum. As his partner drives for ward he rises up and secures an under hook. From here, Leite now sues his top knee to bump his partner forward. He then trades control of his partners leg by scooping it with is top leg. This affords Leite the ability to get up to his knees and enter the dogfight position.
Without the use of a whizzer here, the back take is imminent. So naturally Leite’s partner puts a whizzer in place. Next, Leite locks a gable grip around his partner’s waist. As he begins to drive into his partner, he will likely encounter resistance. As this occurs, Leite switches his direction and walks around to the back side of his partner. Still applying pressure, and killing any hopes of guard retention, Leite forces his partner to retreat to the turtle position. As his partner turtles, Leite locks a seatbelt grip, inserts his bottom hook, and immediately following, his top hook. He’s now acquired the back and can continue however he chooses to do so.
This is an excellent answer to the knee slice. Leite exploits his partner’s hopes of forward progress and in doing so, compromises his base and sets up a favorable scenario for himself. Excellent.
Check out more of Lucas Leite’s well-renowned half guard game in his “Coyote Half Guard” instructional available in On Demand and DVD formats from BJJ Fanatics. Get your copy here today!