Guest post by 5x BJJ World Champion Bernardo Faria, who is known for his half guard and smashing passing style. He achieved a phenomenal double gold medals in the BJJ Mundials in 2015. Be sure to check out Bernardo’s new DVD instructional series on the Faria Guard, The Z Guard, escapes and pressure passing.
1. – FOCUS ON ADJUSTING YOUR GRIPS BEFORE YOU TRY TO SWEEP
This is probably the biggest mistake I see people making when they are playing half-guard. Sometimes they try to sweep too fast, without getting the perfect grips and the perfect timing.
2 – IF YOU JUST STARTED PLAYING HALF-GUARD, AVOID GIVING UP THE UNDERHOOK
I believe that the easiest way to start effectively playing from half-guard is to start from the knee shield (Z-Guard). From there, you can maintain distance between you and your opponent and start developing your half-guard game without being “smashed”.
3 – AVOID THE KIMURA – DON’T LET YOUR OPPONENT GET A DOUBLE WRIST LOCK GRIP
This is probably one of the questions I receive most frequently. What should I do if my opponent tries a Kimura on me? Well, if he gets the Kimura grip, you are already at a huge disadvantage; you should have stopped it before he got there. I have a way for example in the deep half-guard to stop the Kimura: it’s been working well for me. When my opponent touches my arm trying to go for the kimura, I bump him forward, forcing him to post his hands on the mat, to stop himself from being swept, so he can’t get the grip on the Kimura
4 – IF HE GETS THE UNDERHOOK, DON’T GET DESPERATE
This is a very important point! Many times I see people trying to play half-guard, but once the person on top gets the under hook, the guy on bottom gets completely desperate and starts moving frantically to try to get out of there. Instead, you need to keep your composure and work on some sweeps when your opponent has this grip. Some of my most effective sweeps come from there!
5 – AS UNPLEASANT AS IT SOUNDS, GET USED TO TAKING HIS SHOULDER PRESSURE ON YOUR FACE
This is a very important point. If you are one of those that once the guy puts their shoulder on your face, you open up everything to try to get out of there, half-guard might be a tough game for you. You are going to need to take some pressure if you want to play half guard.. Shoulder pressure is tough to handle, I agree, but its not the end of the world, and if you can develop an offensive game even when under some pressure from a strong guy – you find yourself able to see a lot more opportunities to sweep.
So you want to play a simple and effective half guard? Well, get your hands on arguably the best half guard player ever, Bernardo Faria’s DVD set, “Battle Tested Half Guard.” Bernardo is infamous for his simple, effective, and tenacious half guard. He has a game that is suitable for anybody at any age, weight, gender, or fitness level!