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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

10 July 2019

10/07/2019 - Teaching | Half Guard | Knee shield to dogfight

Teaching #886
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 10/07/2019

The knee shield is a very useful tool for managing distance. From half guard, adjust so you can put your top knee right onto their hip bone. This is enough to prevent them driving forward, plus importantly it also means that even if (like me) you're short, you can still keep your ankles crossed. Due to the distance, you can simply block their wrist to prevent the cross face, rather than keeping your arms in closer: they can't crush in, so you have much more space than usual.

That position is good for maintaining the half guard, but to progress, you will generally want to bring your knee shield up high. Put your knee up by their chest, buttressed by your arm: like I mentioned already, be aware that it will be hard or even impossible to cross your ankles, so there is that opening in your legs, be aware of it. In terms of your arm placement, there are two main options. If you put your elbow inside your knee, that makes it tough for them to crush your knee down to start their pass. Alternatively, you could put your elbow on the outside of the knee. That means you can reach across with your hand to their other shoulder, creating a frame comparable to the solid defensive frame from under side control.

For the back take, it's probably easiest to put your elbow on the inside, but that's just my personal preference. Open up your knee shield slightly, to create a gap by their armpit. Into that gap, reach your hand through too. As you do, kick forwards. The momentum of the kick - combined with the sudden departure of resistance to their own weight and forward pressure - should enable you to 'dive' through that gap for the underhook, swivelling through to take the back.

This does depend on how savvy they are. If they don't put in any kind of whizzer (aka, overhooking your underhooking arm), then your route to the back is simple. Just spin through and go for the back take. For a more secure route, adjust your leg position first. You're going to bring your outside leg over, hooking their leg. Try to slide your leg underneath, for a stronger grip. You can then swivel to your knees, putting you in the dogfight position. From there, you can still take the back as before, if they don't whizzer, but you're prepared if they do whizzer.

Once you're in the dogfight, you open up a broader sequence. That starts with a back take, against no whizzer. Against a weak whizzer, you can 'limp arm', relaxing your arm and whipping it free. Versus a decent whizzer, you can try and drive forwards to knock them down, then if they resist that, you can roll underneath. I'll be going through those options in future lessons.

Xande has some nice tweaks from BJJ Library on the standard knee-in-hip version, where your knee is much lower. He comes up on his elbow (reminiscent of Ryan Hall's sitting guard approach, stiff arming into their collar bone too), then moves into a 'bodylock', scooting in after he gets the underhook and locks both his hands around their back. From there he can use that bodylock to help adjust round to the back.

To finish off this post, here's a summary video of the knee shield into dogfight:

Teaching Notes: Make sure to come up on the elbow. After you get the underhook, make sure you get in close, so ear to their chest. Keep the knee shield leg tight to them.

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