So one thing that everyone will always tell you from half guard is “Get on your side”. Or they will say, “Don’t get flattened out!” But the problem is, everything that’s not supposed to happen in jiu jitsu will sooner or later. And if you don’t have a plan for those things, you will panic and force things. And then you will get tired. And then you will lose.
So keeping that bleak scenario in mind, what do you do when someone has you flattened out in half guard?
Well the good thing is that when someone is smashing you with head and arm control, it’s actually pretty hard for them to hit you effectively. I try to make sure that everything I show can easily translate to a fight so at times being underhooked helps striking defense and this is one of those times.
When there is a tight upperbody control, the hips are usually a little mobile in half guard. In these examples squeezing your knees together then tilting them in different directions allows your hip angle to change.
In my halfguard sweep when smashed example I use the knee pointing to get the far foot closer in order to trap and sweep. I originally saw this sweep done by Bear the owner of Shoyoroll. I really like this sweep and have used it gi, no gi, and in mma training. However, there is always the danger that the right leg can back step or mount if your training partner has good sensitivity.
In Stephan Kesting‘s example he uses the knee tilt to get the closer knee together. I’ve had some success using this version as well but have found that without the foot trapped, someone can post their leg out to stop the sweep. However, as Stephan shows this leads to a potential underhook which can lead to a whole bunch of sweeps.
I’m going to start using Stephan’s version as I’m really working on my half guard underhook game right now. As always I recommend experimenting and seeing what works for you!