John Danaher, arguably the best jiu-jitsu coach in the world, continues to pump out high quality instructionals. His most recent product focuses on the no-gi half guard — how to sweep, how to submit, and how to transition to other attacking positions. In a recent video with Bernardo Faria as a part of his new instructional, Danaher details the approach to no-gi half guard that he teaches his students.
The first important key to a good no-gi half guard, says Danaher, is keeping the outside shoulder off the mat. That way, the bottom player is able to create space and opportunities to attack. Similarly, the bottom player must also have his outside hip off the ground. In short, the bottom player needs to stay on his side, and never flattened out.
“The general rule is that I, as the bottom athlete, always want my outside shoulder and my outside hip off the ground,” says Danaher.
Danaher also touches on the skillset of mixing jiu-jitsu and wrestling to sweep from the half guard position. He coaches his athletes to off balance the top player with a jiu-jitsu sweep, then finish the sweep using some sort of wrestling up, such as a single leg.
Additionally, Danaher demonstrates how to transition from the half guard to a butterfly guard and directly into a deep leg attack. This is trademark John Danaher — use every opportunity available to move immediately into an attack whenever possible.
Finally, Danaher points out that, unlike open guard, half guard forces the top person to engage, thus creating more opportunities to attack.
“There’s so much connection from half guard that it’s probably one of the very few if not the only guard position where you can say the bottom man can impose engagement from the bottom position.”