BJJ / Grappling tips: the Half-Guard. How to avoid getting crushed.

The half guard is a position that has evolved massively in BJJ / Grappling. The Half-Guard fundamental concepts are:

i, stay on your side,
ii, prevent the Cross Face,
iii, work for the top underhook.

Every time I drill half guard bottom with a partner I'm always reminded that you have three weapons in the oh-so-important fight against the Cross Face. These are, in order of employment:

The bottom-arm paw
The top-arm paw, and
The Heavy Head.

Some people use both hands at the same time but I just prefer giving them different jobs. Most people know about the paw-grip controlling the biceps but looking around the mat I often see a lot of people giving up the Cross Face once their arms were bypassed instead of gluing their heads to the floor, at least until they can re-insert their hands and resume the fight.

Of course, you shouldn't dwell/stall in half guard but rather get deep in and start your attacks, reversals and sweeps but that's moving forward. Giving up cross face is a HUGE step backwards so remember to Heavy Head. It'll save your ass!

If you have the time, I strongly recommend watching this fantastic video by Indrek Reiland and Jorgen Matsi. It's long and extensive, but it will arguably teach you all you will ever need to stay safe and aggressive from the half guard in both nogi grappling and jiujitsu.



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Kenneth Brown said...

Heavy head?

Liam H Wandi said...

Yes. Imagine someone trying to sneak their arm under your head / neck to cross face you. You bring your chin to your chest and make your head as heavy as possible to make their life difficult. This doesn't stop them completely, but slows them down until you can bring your arms back into play.