Today during the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu class at Crossroads BJJ we discussed the fundamentals of the half guard position. While in jiu-jitsu’s infancy the half guard was seen as primarily a transitionary position, in modern jiu-jitsu it has become an extremely advanced position with several different sub-positions, In todays class the focus was on understanding the basics, with our main focus being on achieving the underhook.
The underhook determines wether the person on the bottom is flat or on their side and this determines if the person on the bottom is mobile or not. If the person in the bottom position can move to their side then they can perform a number of different movements that allow them to advance their position. If the person on the top is able to pin both of their shoulders to the ground and keep them flat then the bottom player is stuck and the top player can begin to advance their position. One of the most common sayings in jiu-jitsu is position before submission, but really it is position before everything. If we can get ourselves to a good position, in this case having the underhook then and only then can we begin to work to improve our position.
From the top position we worked the underhookpass, where the top player flattens the bottom player and then works to clear their leg and move to either side control or the mount. On the bottom once the undertook was achieved we discussed the concepts behind moving to the back, or moving to full guard. We then worked a series of drills designed to help instill the idea of position before everything else from the half guard position. With out drilling with resistance everything is still theoretical. You must start to add resistance to understand what you are doing right and what can go wrong with a technique. Once you understand what is going wrong through this resistance you can make corrections and refine your technique. It is this process of refinement that leads to higher levels of success on the mat.