Deep half guard has become one of the most popular positions to play in BJJ. It is an incredibly diverse position with a wide variety of techniques that you can do from there.
This article will go over the important details for different entries, sweeps, submissions, and defenses against deep half guard.
BJJ Fanatics Deep Half Instructionals
All of the videos linked below are great breakdowns from BJJ Fanatics, who we are proudly affiliated with. If you want to go more depth into deep half guard, then please check out these great instructionals from BJJ Fanatics. They are guaranteed to help improve your deep half guard game.
- Deep Half Guard Domination by Tom DeBlass
- Deep Half Guard Evolution by Jeff Glover
- The Deepest Half by Dallas Niles
- The Battle Tested Half by Bernardo Faria
- Killing Deep Half Guard by Caio Nucci
Basic deep half guard entry
Before you can even think about doing any techniques from deep half guard, you first have to get there. One of the most basic ways to get into deep half guard is from the knee shield position. Here is how you set up your deep half guard off of a knee shield.
Make sure that you’re holding a strong knee shield against your opponent in order to maintain space between you and them. You’re going to need to have this space in order to dive into the deep half.
Once you’ve established a good knee shield and have created space, you’re going to take an underhook on your opponent. Get it by framing on your opponent’s chest and hooking your arm under their arm
Push and pull opponent up
After getting an underhook, you could just dive right into deep half, but that won’t always work. Especially if your opponent has good defense against the deep half.
Instead, you’re going to have to pull/push them up to knock them off balance and give you a clear path. There are two good options you can use to do this.
Your first option is to cup your opponent’s armpit and push them up. Then your second option is to grab the back of your opponent’s Gi and pull them up. Either one will give you a clear path to dive into the deep half.
Now that you have a clear path to the deep half, you have to quickly dive into position. As you dive in, underhook your opponent’s leg and turn your body to face the same direction as them.
As you get into the deep half position, you need to position your head right against your opponent’s leg. You must do this in order to close space or your opponent can easily frame on your head and easily escape.
Opposite leg control
After underhooking your opponent’s leg and putting your head in the right position, you must control their other leg. Hook your leg on top of your opponent’s leg as you grab a sleeve control on their far arm.
You have now secured your opponent in the deep half guard and can now set up different sweeps and submissions. BJJ black belt Lucas Valle did a great breakdown of this technique for BJJ Fanatics that you should check out below.
Deep half entry from the knee slice pass
One of the toughest guard passes to defend against is the knee slice pass. But when an opponent goes for the knee slice, this gives you a great opportunity to get to deep half guard. Here are the steps you need to counter the knee slice pass and enter into deep half.
Address the problem
Before you can start your deep half entry you must first address the problem of your partner’s knee slice. If you don’t start by defending the knee slice, your partner is going to pass right into side-control.
Keep them from passing by reaching underneath your partner and grab their ankle and take a pseudo reverse DLR grip. This grip prevents your partner from being able to finish the knee slice and glues you to them.
Push your opponent up
Now that your partner can’t pass, you can now open your entry into the deep half guard. Place your top knee behind your partner’s butt and push them forward to get their head above your head. They’ll instinctively base their hands on the ground to keep from falling on their face and your path to deep half is now open.
Grip and hip switch
Right after your partner bases out, your outside hand is going to hook their leg as you switch your hips. As you finish switching you end up right in the deep half position. Check out Tom DeBlass break down this deep half entry that is part of his great deep half instructional.
Three highly effective sweeps from the deep half guard
There are three very basic and efficient sweeps from the deep half guard that are easy to execute. All of them depend on how your partner reacts and where they move.
The sleeve grip
To do these techniques, you have to hold the deep half a little differently. Instead of under hooking the far leg like normal, you underhook the near leg and grab your partner’s sleeve.
Pull this sleeve grip down to trap your partner’s arm in place, so they can’t defend with that arm. Now that you have this sleeve grip, this opens up your three sweep possibilities. Rather than force any of these sweeps, you’ll instead simply respond to your opponent’s actions.
Sweep #1: When they lean forward
The first sweep comes off of your partner leaning forward and compromising their base. If they lean forward, all you do is cup their elbow with your free hand and roll them over. Very simple and easy to pull off.
Sweep #2: When they lean back
The second easy sweep comes off of your partner leaning back and trying to break your grips. Once they lean back, all you have to do is move with your partner and topple them over.
Sweep #3: When they put a knee on mat
The third reaction that you may get is your partner puts their trapped knee on the mat. As soon as their knee touches the mat, you immediately come up and roll them over to complete the sweep.
The great thing about using this sleeve grip in the deep half is that you can create reactions. If you want to roll your partner forward, you can push them back to make them react and take them forward.
There are so many possibilities from using this sleeve grip and will make your deep half even more secure. Leonardo Nogueira perfectly details how to do these sweeps in this demonstration.
Deep half guard pull into the Faria sweep
Just like a regular guard pull, you can pull yourself right into deep half guard from standing. Then you can immediately go into the Faria sweep that is named after BJJFanatics co-founder and former world champion Bernardo Faria.
The deep half guard pull
The deep half guard pull is extremely easy and can be accomplished in just two steps. From standing, grab your opponent’s collar, take a second grip under the first grip and slide right into deep half. This is probably the quickest and easiest of all of the entries into deep half guard.
Establish your deep half
As soon as you get into deep half, you must secure the position before setting up the sweep. Stay on your side and keep your head in and arm in, so your opponent cannot isolate them.
Once you’ve established your deep half guard, you can begin setting up your lapel grip. Pull out your partner’s lapel with your inside hand and pass it over to your other hand.
Then your inside arm needs to underhook your partner’s leg and regrab the lapel grip. Make sure you pull down on the lapel and stay flat on your back.
Feet on the mat and bridge
After securing your lapel grip, you only have one more step to sweep your opponent. Place both feet on the mat, bridge, and turn to sweep your opponent.
The breakdown of this technique is from Bernardo Faria’s Transition Mastery series, where he covers numerous transition techniques.
Deep half to single leg
Deep half guard is so complex that you can even use it to transition into a single leg takedown. Check out these easy steps below for how to go from the deep half to a single leg.
Knee to mat
You transition to a single leg from deep half by getting your partner to react by placing their knee on the mat.
In deep half, you’re going to Gable grip your hands together above your opponent’s knee. Then you’re going to turn your grip, forcing their knee to the mat.
Your partner reacts
Naturally, your partner will try pulling their knee back up. When they do this, you’re going to ride their momentum to come up with them and turn. This will put you right into a single leg position.
Your head placement is very important, because if you bring it up to high, your partner will grab a guillotine. That’s why you need to keep your head on the inside of your partner’s body.
Once you’re in the single leg position, it is totally up to you on how you want to finish the takedown. Either finish with a single leg variation or switch to a double leg.
From holding the deep half guard with a Gable grip above the knee, you can actually go into a leg lock position. It starts with you unlocking your leg and then hooking your inside foot under your partner’s foot.
You use that hook to lift your opponent’s leg up as you bring your other leg in. This puts you right into a quasi-side saddle position, where you can finish with an inside heel hook.
Watch deep half master Jeff Glover breakdown both of these techniques in this video.
Defending against deep half guard
There’s a lot of people out there that love playing deep half and you must know how to defend it. Here are some methods for how to defend against deep half guard.
Deep half guard pass
A way to pass deep half is to drop your trapped knee to the ground while lifting your far leg up. Once you come up, grab a sleeve grip on their arm which is wrapping your trapped leg and pull it down to the mat.
At the same time you’re doing this, you slide your leg over your partner’s head. Your partner is now stuck and you have all of your weight on their chest.
To complete the pass, you grab your partner’s lapel, apply a crossface to make them look away from you, and pass.
Sprawl and turn
When you get put in the deep half, one way to defend it is by sprawling on your opponent’s head. As they try to tuck their head into your hip, you’re going to sprawl down and force their head to turn away.
Next, slide your leg over your opponent’s head, so you can begin turning into the knee cut position. Once you’re here, control your partner’s leg and take a thumb in grip on their collar.
Now with your weight on your partner, turn your body and enter into the knee cut position. Pass by keeping the collar grip, drop your elbow down, pull their other arm up, and slide into side-control.
Want to learn more half guard techniques?
Do you want to learn more techniques from half guard? Well, we’re here to help! Check out our other write up on the lockdown half guard.
Knowing lockdown half guard techniques to go along with the deep half will make your half guard game super effective. You’ll get a lot of good stuff from lockdown to go along from the deep half position.
The deep half guard is one of the most popular styles of half guard in modern Jiu Jitsu. It has become a requirement that you not only know how to perform deep half techniques, but their defenses. Study these techniques listed above and you’ll have more success diving into deep half guard.