After completing my first BJJ tournament this last weekend I learned some very important lessons about my game. I am actually pretty good about getting into half-guard but was really struggling to progress from there. It was of course frustrating during the competition but gave me a very clear signal on what I need to work on. The amount of time I spent trapped in this position in this one tournament is enough of an indication that I should prioritize getting these basics figured out before some of the other items I was working on.
First and foremost I am going to focus on preventing my training partners from getting to the smash position in the first place by ensuring that I get my knee shield and arm frames in position right away. This will start to open me up to learning how to respond while my partner is working to dismantle my defenses when I see an opportunity to attack. I also will be focused on keeping my outside hip and shoulder off of the mat to ensure that I am able to stay mobile and respond to my partners advances. Working on getting an elbow knee connection with my knee shield will help bolster my defenses and allow me to pursue my own under hook when the opportunity presents itself.
From here I would like to develop some sweeps/escapes to help me advance my position while I am in control or abandon ship when I am in trouble. Learning the electric chair may be a valuable opportunity as it was a position that I came very close to in my tournament and was just ignorant to the potential of my position. Learning also to keep an eye our for kimura’s in all positions could help me secure more submissions or at least advance my position.
This of course is a lot to try and learn at once so I will be mainly focused on staying on my side and improving my ability to sweep or at least escape from bottom half guard when I need to. I would also really love to develop my submission game to have a way to finish someone here if I find my way here with as much consistency as I did in this first tournament.
I have so many ideas bouncing around my head after this first tournament that it is hard to settle on what to work on in the lead up to my next one (which is less than three weeks away as I am writing this) but I know that I wont be able to master any of it in that amount of time. I am going to see how close I can get to simply mastering staying on my side in half guard while maintaining distance with my knee shield. If I was able to master that and have the secondary objective be getting unsmashed and reengaging my defenses that would be a huge win for my game in of itself.
Anyways bear in mind that these are the musings of a white belt so take them with a grain of salt. But let me know below if I should consider any other aspects of half guard to focus on for my upcoming tournament and don’t forget to follow and sign up for the email when I publish a new post if you like the content!