Fighting the power hand – Half guard notes week 6

In the fight for head position, the obvious thing for the top player to do is to use his hands and arms to push the bottom player and prevent her from closing the distance to gain head position (head to chest). Regardless of which hand is dominant, his outside (crossfacing) arm will be able to apply more strength in preventing the bottom player from sitting up as it is able to apply force higher on her body and hence exert more leverage. This outside hand is his power hand, and it is the hand that the bottom player will need to defeat before being able to gain head position.

The top player’s power arm is at it’s strongest when his elbow is close to his ribs. It is weaker when it is extended, or when it is drawn back so his hand is close to his chest.

The main problem for the bottom player is that as she starts to bring her head closer to the desired position, she is moving her head towards the top player’s power hand in its strongest position. She is effectively running into a wall.

It is advantageous for the bottom player when the power hand is either fully extended or fully drawn back. A good tactic for her is to have the top player extend his power hand. She can then restrain it in some fashion before moving her head into good positioning. When the bottom player has control of the top player’s power hand, he can no longer use it to defend against her gaining head position.

One way to entice the top player to extend his power hand:

  1. Move your head far away from the top player. Use z-guard (knee shield – outside shin in top player’s hip) to provide a foundation then arch your back to move your body away.
  2. With your body extended, the knee shield loses strength. Elevate the knee to block against the top player’s chest/shoulder instead of his hip. This provides a frame to help prevent him crushing you with his bodyweight.
  3. The top player now needs to use his power hand to remove this frame. Wait for him to bring his hand within range, then grab and extend it.
  4. Extend your top leg. This removes the frame and creates an easy path to sit up and gain head position.
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