Thursday, 27 January 2011


The focus of this article will be to explore the many uses of the half guard position and why it’s so critical to know.

The key idea with the half guard position is to think of it as a transition position. The half guard is the key link between the closed and open guard, side control, mount, the back, and even the turtle and front headlock position. Thinking of it as a key link means that if your half guard is weak, then ones transitions between all these fundamental positions will also be weak.

This is especially true when it comes to the fundamental escapes. For instance, when one escapes the mount position the first step leads to the half guard, from there one typically looks to attack or transition further to the full guard. Now, if one has a weak understanding of the half guard the escape would be halted right then and there, and the attacking opponent would move back to the dominate mount position. The same would also be true of the side control position, the back, the turtle, and the front headlock position.

The half guard position has also been a staple for the smaller fighter with shorter legs. For some BJJ players with short powerful legs, the closed guard has been an important aspect of their bottom game. Not that small legs are a disadvantage to the bottom man, but for someone having difficulty keeping their legs locked in the full guard, locking only one leg seems to be much easier. There is one note of caution in regards to the half guard position. Do not sit and wait in this position! It is very easy for the bottom man to lock on to the leg of his opponent and rest. This is a terrible habit to get in and is not what the half guard is designed for. Like every position on the bottom it is important to keep moving and attack always on your back, don’t be lazy in the guard! The take home message being devote considerable time to the half guard position, as it will greatly enhance your bottom game.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

An interesting read and some advice for 2011!

This was an article I came across recently that I felt had some great advice for facing the new year, all the best for 2011, thanks for reading and TRAIN HARD!

Undefeated, having won by submission in all his eleven official MMA matches, Rickson Gracie is victorious as an icon living a life of dedication to Jiu-Jitsu. But even the samurai, who exhudes confidence and seems to be unbreakable, nurses wounds slow in healing.

In an interview with Brazilian, Ragga magazine, the Gracie comments on the loss that turned his world upside down. Never before has Rickson spoken so candidly about the death of his son Rockson, found dead in a New York hotel in December 2000. This is how he replied to the question “What’s the worst beating you’ve ever taken?”

“Without a doubt, the loss of my son, ten years ago,” he admits.

“I feel that his passing represented a lot, because I managed to deal with this loss. Nothing is more significant than losing someone you truly love. When you talk about a loss, you may think of strength, perseverance, praying, the belief that there will be a tomorrow, all these factors, when a friend perhaps comes over and puts his arm on your shoulder. All these opinions are relevant, but the truth is that I came to the conclusion that none of that matters. When you lose something truly profound, you have to sit, cry, and accept that you’ve hit rock bottom,” he vents.

“Deep down, you see a reason to shoot yourself in the head, to stop doing the right thing, to stop being a happy person. You may want to fools yourself, thinking “it’s bad, but I can take it,” and that’s the kind of lack of honesty that will never cure the wound. I hit rock bottom and decided, deep down, whether I would come back to the surface or not,” he adds.

The Gracie took many years in coming to terms with the tragedy, and changed the course of his life and the way he leads it. Part of his plan was to return to Brazil. Other foundations were family, the gentle art, and learning, even if through suffering.

“I went through the healing process with my family. For practically three years I was focused on recuperating this energy and seeking some reason for me to be happy again. And that reason is my three beautiful kids, my family, Jiu-Jitsu. To put the issue to rest in my head, I spent a long time looking for a bright side to this loss, something I could take away from this tragedy as an advantage. After much meditation, withdrawing to the woods, without feeling any desire to surf, play, train, I reached the conclusion that there was an advantage, a positive side. Up until that moment, I had never really valued time, I always thought I controlled my time, that I could put off talking to my son until tomorrow, that I could put off that trip or class until later, that time was just a question of reworking my agenda. I put off doing a lot of things thinking I’d be able to do them later. With my son’s departure, I understood that there is no tomorrow. We have to do everything as though there were no tomorrow.

And again Rickson affirms that he is retired, he will not fight again. Indeed, the black belt hasn’t fought since Rockson’s death.