50/50 Guard – The Savior or Detractor of Submission Grappling



Writer: Dan Faggella is a Leg Lock Expert in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World – winning the Gold Medal in the recent No-Gi Pan Ams without a single point being scored against him. Dan has produced over a dozen Brazilian Jiu Jitsu DVD Instructional Videos & Books. His FREE “50-50 Bonus Footage” Mini Course  can be found online at: http://MicroBJJ.com/50-50-Bonus-Footage-2

Ever since a recent UFC event in which the 50/50 guard was utilized, I’ve been on a 50/50 frenzy in terms of analyzing the position and gauging the opinion of top athletes to this newcomer to the BJJ world of “guard.”  Seeing it make its way from grappling tournaments, all the way to live TV viewed by millions of fans, it warms my heart seeing such a valuable position have some light shined brightly upon it (More details on the 50-50 in the UFC: http://scienceofskill.com/the-50-50-guard-in-the-ufc/).

Despite its effectiveness and ability to line you up for a perfect submission victory, it still doesn’t get the respect it deserves in some circles of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world.  While it can be dangerous at times, it acts as such a dangerous tool when yielded correctly.

Personally, I love leg locks to the death of me.  With that said, I likewise adore the 50/50 guard and all of the possible results that it offers.  When executed correctly, there’s no way to describe how beneficial this setup can be.

The Pros & Cons of The 50/50 Guard

As I stated earlier, there’s the good and the bad when it comes to working the 50/50.  But then again, which position is only all good?  Exactly.  With the 50/50, there are so many outcomes that could occur.

For the negative side of things, you’re not only looking to attack the legs, but you could potentially be putting your own legs at risk as well.  Once you sit down and tangle your lower extremities, things can become a little messy and potentially end up hurting you in the long run.

However, the potential for something good to happen is not to be overlooked!  The possibilities are vast for leg lock finishes!

  • Heel Hooks
  • Toe Holds
  • Inverted Heel Hooks
  • Knee Bars

Just to name a few!  In my opinion, if you’re confident in your skills and are willing to venture into leg-lock land, then things will end well for you.

Inside Heel Hook From The 50/50

With that being said, it’s only right that I breakdown a nice heel hook attack from the 50/50!  This is one of my personal favorites, and while it isn’t greatly detailed, it’s an effective way to end a fight or a match!

  • The main thing with this attack, is finding the inside of the knee.  If you can’t see it, then their heal is likely firmly on the mat.
  • If your opponent begins to roll out of it, you can simply roll with him and angle yourself on the mat till you see his inside knee.
  • If this doesn’t work, you can try to force him back to the start of the 50/50, and finish the hold from there.

No matter how you look at it, the 50/50 is almost essential tool to have for many BJJ players out there.  Don’t let it scare you away; just hop on the mat and drill till you get it just right! Grapplers muse that 10 years ago, it was the half guard everyone was complaining about (http://www.grapplingweekly.com/5050-guard-stallers-paradise-or-jiu-jitsu’s-new-x-guard-2/), and now a decade later the half guard is seen as a staple, and a core element of the bottom.

Will this happen with the 50-50? Only time will tell, until then, keep your legs safe,

Dan Faggella