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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

12 March 2013

12/03/2013 - Half Guard Passing with Liam

Class #493
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Liam Knapp, Bristol, UK - 12/03/2013

Even though my injury is gradually becoming less of a hindrance, as I can at least spar lightly with controlled smaller people, it continues to stop me joining in with the warm-up. That was particularly frustrating today, as Liam was doing some cool guard drills, such as sit-ups when they've stood up in your guard, followed by 'monkey climbs' around their back. Hopefully I'll be able to get back into it properly in a few months (especially as I'll be in California in June), but I'll have to wait and see.

The first technique was a z guard pass, reliant on speed and timing. This combines well with the option Dónal showed a while ago. As tends to be the case with z-guard/knee shield, you need to get that knee down. If it stays high they can control the distance and block your pass.

Having got their knee down, bring your trapped knee up and point it backwards, sliding to try and break their leg grip. Presuming that's successful, post your nearest hand by their hips (they will probably be up on their side, so you can place your fist by their hip to block their motion that way). You're also going to be pressing your weight down into their legs, sprawling your own legs back to maximise pressure. They will most likely try to frame with their arms. That's your cue to spin around your posted fist, with the aim of harvesting one of their arms for a north-south kimura as you do.

The second half guard pass, for a more basic half guard, is more about pressure and grips than speed and timing. You're in the usual top position, when you notice they are going for an underhook. Bring your opposite arm underneath their attempted underhooking arm, bringing your elbow back into their armpit. Grab a handful of gi material to lock your arm in place, adjusting your weight to stop them moving.

With your other hand, push their knee off yours, then pull it into your shin as you maintain pressure with your leg. The idea is to stop them re-securing a half guard lock higher up. Shrimp back until you have room to wedge your other knee next to your trapped knee. Keeping hold of their trouser leg, continue to shift back until you can free your leg, then transition to side control, being careful to block their hip so they can't recover guard.

During my limited bit of sparring, I was looking for the Jason Scully style pass against z-guard/knee shield. I missed out some key details initially so that become a bit scrambly, but managed to get it more smoothly later on. I kept forgetting to bring the trapped knee through into their hip, which when done right enables you to settle your weight down onto their legs to put them out of commission. I was focusing too much on getting my head into their armpit and grabbing their leg.

It is really cool to have a breadth of instructors, as that means different perspectives, different technical preferences and indeed different sizes, which necessarily impacts both your game and the details you pick up from sparring. So, hopefully Liam will be able to teach more classes in the future. Geeza is away for a couple of weeks, which will mean several other people will also have the chance to teach. I'm away for a while myself, but should be able to make it to a few of those classes.

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