Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre/MyGym), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 10/12/2014
On top of half guard, your opening goal is to get them flat on the mat: there are passes you can do while they are on their side, but generally speaking it is much easier if their back is pinned to the floor. A simple method, drawing on the Ribeiro brothers, is to drive your free knee into their hip, block their head with your same side arm, then step your trapped leg up and away from you. Having generated some space, drive the trapped knee forwards as your return it to the mat, which should also help you drive your opponent to the mat as well.
If you are able to get the cross-face and an underhook, there is now the option of generating lots of shoulder pressure. This is my favourite way to pass the half guard: both Saulo and his brother refer to this as the 'esgrima pass', but I call it the shoulder pressure pass in the interests of clarity. Cross-face their head, so that they can't turn in that direction. Put your own head on the other side, locking their head into place: your shoulder and head work together to form a vice. It should now become hard for them to move, because their head is stuck.
From here, come up on your feet so that all your weight is driving through your shoulder. Even if you're small, this should maximise your weight. I'm only 66kgs, but if I can get all of that weight against somebody's head, it becomes more significant. From there, bounce your trapped knee to wriggle it free. As soon as it is clear of their legs, twist in the direction of your cross-facing arm and put that knee on the mat. You can then kick their leg off your foot: some people prefer to kick the top leg, but I would generally go for the bottom leg. Turning your hips to the ceiling can also help if you're struggling to get that foot loose.
Teaching Notes: For the women's class, I need to make sure I give clear context for why you would be using this technique. So far, the positions have largely made sense to the uninitiated, but half guard is a bit more specific to BJJ. I mentioned briefly that you'll often find yourself here if you haven't quite got the transition from side control to mount solid, but I should go into more detail. That way people aren't thinking "why would I end up with one leg in between theirs?" My gf was there tonight, and that's exactly what she said afterwards.
As it's a fairly simple technique, I think I should also add in a second. I went through some basics on recovering full guard, but the americana from top half is probably a better option. That also means they have something to go for if they are getting stuck in top half and really struggling to pull their leg free.
I'll be able to play with this more next week, then much more during the half guard month (as there are a couple of women's class students now who also train in the mixed classes).