Feb 01

Troubleshooting the Half Guard I

One of my ongoing projects is related to half guard, and today I want to look at one of the questions that I’ve received as a result of that project.  The question was:

My Half Guard question is about the cross face. I have gotten very comfortable with being able to control the bicep of the person on top, when it is coming straight for my chin and being able to rest in this position. However when my opponent skips the cross face and stops looking to scoop my head and squish my chin, and instead puts his elbow over my head, and then I get trapped between his elbow and his free leg. Any answers on how I can regulate this? I manage half guard pretty well til this happens and then they pass. Thanks

Some time has passed since this question was asked but even now I find it interesting. Intuitively, I feel that the transition to deep half is really easy once they pull you in with their elbow, but someone else is perceiving a problem in that same situation.

I wonder why that’s so, and I don’t want to assume that it’s because of a skill difference. I look at the question again, and I wonder what details aren’t included. For example, what form of half guard is being played? Who has the underhook on the far side?

Those are just simple questions, but there are all kinds of variables that could be in play that aren’t being highlighted. So what we have is a situation that isn’t completely defined.

Let’s assume that I won’t be able to get more information about the situation from the person who asked me the question initially. What would be best way to find a resolution?

Now generally prevention is often the best policy, but in this case, I’m not sure if we want to prevent it.  So the first step would be to answer that question. Is this a situation that should be prevented?

The only way to answer that is to test. Small variances within the situation have to be tested until you find a situation that is very disadvantageous for the person on the bottom. If it can’t be found, it means that there is no need to prevent the elbow coming over.

One day, I did a quick video after class to test two simple variances and prove that they weren’t threats.  You can see it below:

Those were just two possibilities. More exist, and I want to test them. Also help would be appreciated. If you had issues in any situation like this, let me know why.