We are now well aware that the main battle that is occurring with half guard is that the bottom player is attempting to gain dominant head position and the top player is trying to prevent this from occurring.
A common way the top player does this is by squashing the bottom player with his bodyweight. But it’s a little more technically involved than this. The top player is specifically trying to squash the bottom player’s farside deltoid (shoulder). If he does this then the bottom player will find it difficult to turn on to her side and hence it becomes difficult for her to gain head position. If he only squashes her body, she will be able to raise her farside deltoid enough and keep wriggling until she can turn on her side enough to initiate the battle for head position.
The counter we are looking at this week is when the top player is applying pressure to the bottom player’s farside deltoid. He may have a crossface and underhook as well (or not). It is important to understand that we are looking at the position where his arms are hugging the bottom player’s body. The situation where both of his arms are on the same side of the bottom player’s body is a different situation that requires a different response.
With her deltoid pinned and body flat, there is little the bottom player can do. Her goal is to free this deltoid so she can turn on her side. The way she will do this is to move away from the top player until she is far enough away that his bodyweight is no longer able to pin her deltoid.
The top player has freedom of movement, so he will follow when she tries to move away. The bottom player’s solution is to build a frame to hold the top player in place, and then move away from this frame to free her deltoid.
- Create an initial frame on the top player’s outside knee with either an elbow or straight arm.
- Use this frame to insert the inside (bottom) knee to block at the top player’s outside hip and front of his thigh to create a stronger frame. The arm is no longer needed.
- The outside (top) knee now pinches the top player’s hips. This pinch creates a frame that controls the top player’s hips and reduces his movement.
Now that the frame has been created, the bottom player can push herself away with the power of her glutes and with the assistance of her arms. As soon as her shoulder is free she can return to the battle for head position.