4 Mistakes That’ll KILL Your Half Guard…


Whether you want to or not, you ARE going to end up in the half guard!

Some people simply use the half guard as a last resort when their guard is being passed. Their opponent is blasting around their guard, so without even thinking about it they lash out with their legs and trap one of his legs between their own.

Voila, the half guard!

Other people are so comfortable with the half guard that they go there by choice, using it as the central platform from which to build their entire bottom game.

But either way, regardless of whether you get there accidentally or intentionally, you need to know what to do from the half guard.

And a good place to start that is by first learning what NOT to do!

To view the same Half Guard video on YouTube, click here.

I see the same four half guard mistakes on the mat all the time. And yes, I’ve made every one of these mistakes in my own training as well.

Any one of these errors gives your opponent a huge gift: a clear route past your legs and into side mount. Or worse, a path straight into a submission…

But there IS a flip side to all this: if you fix these mistakes then your half guard will become MUCH harder to pass. And you’ll be building a strong foundation for actually using the half guard as the sweeping and attacking position that it was meant to be.

I put a video on Youtube specifically about these four half guard mistakes (and at the the top of this page), but if you want a quick sneak peek then read on…

The first half guard mistake is bad body position.

If you’re lying flat then you’re going to get squashed, and are hugely limiting your offensive options.

If you’re using the half guard then you should be on your side.

Also for most half guard techniques you should be curled into a little ball, as far under his center of gravity as possible. To help me with this I always think of trying to get my ear onto his hipbone.

The second half guard mistake is not gripfighting.

If your opponent manages to get a good grip on your head, OR underhook your arm with his arm arm, then you’re going to suffer. He’ll put weight on you, crush your face, and quite probably pass your half guard.

That’s why you’ve GOT to gripfight in the half guard. Deny him the crossface. Don’t give him the undertook. Make him work for the inside line.

Controlling the grip will make your half guard much harder to pass, and your offensive options much stronger.

The third mistake in the half guard is not controlling his trapped leg at all times.

If your opponent is even hallways savvy to the half guard and you screw up on controlling his leg for even a split second, then – boom – he’ll blow past your half guard and now you’ll be pinned in side control.

Anytime you’re using the half guard you’ve GOT to have something on top of his trapped leg: your foot, your ankle, or your calf, of either leg.

This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how often people forget to keep control over the top of their opponents leg.

The fourth half guard mistake is not knowing when to abandon the half guard.

You’ve gotta keep your opponent guessing, and that’s hard to do if you’re 100% predictable.

So when the half guard stops working in a match then you’ve got to switch it up by going to another position.

All these mistakes are broken down for you in more detail (along with some solutions too) in the video at the top of the page.

I see every one of these mistakes all the time. And I made all of them myself in my own journey to becoming comfortable in the half guard.

They say that intelligence is learning from your own mistakes, and wisdom is learning from someone else’s.  So when it comes to the half guard, be wise, my fren, be wise!

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