Frames – Half guard notes week 8

Until now, the bottom player has been reacting defensively to the top player’s counters. Even though her goal is an offensive one (gain head position), she has been going about it with a defensive mindset. Her thoughts have been on countering the obstacles that the top player is putting in her path. The top player is the aggressor as he is deciding which obstacles to present to the bottom player.

The top player has the advantage because there are many possible obstacles that he can use (sitting back, pressuring the far deltoid etc). The more possibilities he has, the more options the bottom player must mentally process and the slower her reaction time will become. To regain an advantage and to switch to a more aggressive mindset, the bottom player must reduce the options available to the top player.

The bottom player can create a frame (structure) with her limbs that restricts the options available to the top player. The structure we are using is similar to Robson Moura’s 93 guard but with the inside knee blocking the top player’s far hip instead of her far hand grabbing the pants (no-gi compatible). The key points of this structure are:

  • Near-side knee/shin blocks the top player’s far hip as we covered in week 4.
  • Far-side knee/shin block the top player’s chest or near-side shoulder/biceps.
  • Hands are holding the top player’s upper body and pulling him towards her shins (pull-push like in spider guard).

The knee/shins create a shield that prevents the top player from being able to effectively crush. It may be difficult to transition from a half guard to this structure, so the bottom player may need to use stiff arm (locked elbow) frames to hold her opponent away as she positions her knees.

Faced with this structure, the top player’s immediate concern is not in preventing the bottom player from gaining head position. His attention must first be on dismantling her frames. There are only a small number of ways that he can do this. If the bottom player is aware of the likely behaviour of the top player, she has the advantage.

A strong frame gives the bottom player an advantage is it gives her respite from being crushed, time to think, and a staging platform to launch prepared attacks.

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