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Artechoke in a Can: Basic Half Guard Drills

For as much as we talk about individual techniques in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or in submission grappling it’s easy to forget the importance of movement drills and combination drills. To take an isolated technique and to make it useful in a live situation is to incorporate it into a greater game, which means forging connections between the new technique and the other techniques in your game. If you jump right from isolated drilling to live rolling, you’re likely to have a much more difficult time making that technique work the way you want it to.

Movement drills and additional repetition help you to train your body to react appropriately to a particular stimulus. In this week’s class, we focus on movement drills for what we have learned so far, our goal being to make the distance between learning a technique and applying it regularly as short as possible.

For our first drill, we isolate some key butterfly movements, dedicating most of our attention to using butterfly hooks to create space and to alleviate pressure.

In the next drill, we connect last week’s Kansas City Shuffle with the half guard single leg entry that we learned before that. Making a combination drill like this helps you to increase your aggression and confidence because you know well-ahead of time where you are going next when you initiate the first technique in the series.

Instead of going low for the single leg, you may sometimes want to create space by moving away and transition to a full guard. That’s what we do in this technique. Once we return to guard, we set up a push-pin triangle, which is commonly available after the first transition.

To close the class, we return to a butterfly hook drill, except that this time we are working a half guard butterfly, using the hook as a leverage point to create space.

No matter what position you’re working on, developing and using drills like these are essential. So whether or not half guard is a big focus in your game right now, I hope you walk away from this lesson with some ideas of how you could incorporate more drills into your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.

Artechoke in a Can is the online version of Marshal D. Carper’s weekly no-gi class. Marshal is a purple belt under Sonny Achille at Steel City Martial Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he is the author of The Cauliflower Chronicles and Marcelo Garcia’s Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Techniques.

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