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1-A Half Guard Defaults

Then there are the defaults. Behind all of your intermediate and advanced level actions in the half guard are the back take and closed guard options. If you are always ready and threatening to take your opponent’s back or recover closed guard, every other thing you do becomes a lot more dangerous because your opponent will always have to defend at least three things instead of only worrying about the single attack.

People behave differently in half guard if they are worried about getting their back taken than they do without that threat present. The threat of the closed guard is a lot less dire but still something which influences the actions of the top player because they know getting stuck in closed guard, particularly a good one, means they will have a lot of extra work to do before they can start trying to pass your legs. You will also find that failed sweeps and kneebar attempts often open windows for taking the back or recovering closed guard.

Lastly, the concept of kuzushi I mentioned earlier in this book makes everything we will do from beginner to intermediate and advanced half guard play in this book possible. It facilitates getting the underhook, taking the back, getting to closed guard, and everything in between. I cannot overstate how important it is to study this skill and to not only master the ways we cover it here but to try to find as many of your own ways of off-balancing and de-stabilizing your opponent as possible. It will really make life much, much easier for you on bottom