The Deep Half Guard


The Deep Half Guard is a position that I’ve been working with for the past year or so. I often end up using it to counter various guard passes to the ‘regular’ half guard.

In the Deep Half Guard you jack your opponent’s leg up onto your shoulder. Your hands and legs can do different things, depending on the type of sweep you’re trying to set up.

In the first photo (with the gi) my right arm is hugging his top hip and my legs are triangled.
The Deep Half Guard
In the second picture (no-gi) my right arm is controlling his bottom thigh and my left arm is buried under his leg. I am controlling his leg by sandwiching it between my right instep, and left calf.
The Deep Half Guard 2
If you play this position then you really have to watch out for two main submissions:

  1. Your opponent stepping over your head and putting a kneebar on your bottom leg
  2. Your opponent attacking your bottom arm with a Kimura

The main defense for these attacks is – you guessed it – awareness. The best way to develop this awareness is to grab a partner, get on top, and play around with these attacks yourself. This will really tune up your spider sense for these attacks; you’ll eventually be able to hear your opponent thinking about these attacks and adjust your game accordingly.

Another way to defend the big two Deep Half Guard submissions is with leg and arm position. The position of the legs in the second picture provides some protection against the kneebar; try it and see! The positioning of the left arm in the second picture (i.e. buried under the thigh) also makes it a lot harder for your opponent attack you with the Kimura.

Does that mean that you should always use the arm and leg position from the second photo? Not really. If you did that then you’d really cut down on your number of attack options.

Speaking of attack options, below are some of the better clips I’ve found on Youtube for using the Deep Half Guard to sweep your opponent.

And finally, here’s a clip from one of the bonus DVDs for the Black Belt Grappling Concepts Course. This section addresses the three most important Deep Half Guard leg positions and – just as importantly – the techniques you need to know in order to transition between these different positions to set up your sweeps and attacks!

If you practice the transitions in this last video clip then I promise you that you’ll become a LOT more comfortable in the Deep Half Guard right away.

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