When fighting from my half guard I often recall something that Chris Brennan told me: “one of the secrets of the half guard is to bring your knees to your chest”. This advice, simple as it is, can add a whole other dimension to your half guard attacks.
To help visualize the movement think about doing a hanging knee raise – it is basically the same movement, just in a different plane. Here’s a good video on how to do that exercise.
OK, so why would we want to do that movement from the bottom half guard? In that position my legs clamp one of my opponent’s legs, and when I bring my knees up to my chest my opponent will be moved up, over top of me. If you’ve seen my Half Guard Sweeps DVD then you know that many powerful half guard attacks start with moving DOWN your opponent’s body to get access to his feet, legs and hips. Chris Brennan’s ‘secret’ accomplishes the same thing by a different mechanism: it moves his body UP, rather than your own body down.
There is a pre-requisite to using this move: your opponent can’t be clamped down onto your body or head with his arms (which would kill your ability to move him up over you). Accordingly you have to grip fight and time the execution of this move to take advantage of those transitional moments in the half guard when his weight isn’t settled and his arms aren’t holding you too firmly. Do that and your opponent will be well on his way to getting swept