Advanced Half Guard Training With Bernardo Faria

In a previous article with multiple-time World champion Bernardo Faria, the Jiu-Jitsu Times talked about the most common mistakes in the half guard position.

Today we asked Bernardo about some more advanced half guard topics.

Here is what he had to say.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Bernardo, we previously talked about how BJJ students can start to build their half guard game. Once they have a favorite position, what should be the priority for the more advanced belts? Should it be combinations, counters, or connecting to other guards?

Bernardo Faria: I believe that once you found your favorite position, and your favorite game, the next step should be 3 things: how to get there; understand everything that can happen there; and also have at least two or three combinations on that game.

It’s really important to know how to get on that game plan, if you are super good at closed guard for example, but you never get to close the guard, you are in trouble. Your game plan is worthless, because you don’t know how to get there. So you definitely should know at least three different ways to get on that position that is your favorite.

Also you should try to understand everything that can happen there. You should have an answer for all the “ifs” in that situation. For example, What if your opponent do this? And what if your opponent block your leg here? And so on. So it’s really important to have an answer, a counter for all the things that can happen there. Of course this requires hundreds, or thousand of hours playing that game. You are becoming a specialist on that.

Third, but not less important, you should always have more than one option in that game plan. That’s why I always play the deep half guard game, and also the single leg half-guard game; because in case one doesn’t work, I can always switch to the other one, and they are both related. They are from half-guard. If you have three or four options, you can combine and make it become 1000 options. For example lets say you like to do: 1) Some sweep from deep half; 2)some sweep from single leg half guard; 3)some sweep from knee shields and 4) some other sweep from deep half. So now lets imagine you know how to combine 1 with 4, going to the 3 and finishing with 2, or 2, 3, 1, 4 or 3, 4, 1, 2. Or just 1 with 3. And it goes on and on and on. All I want to mean is that you don’t need to know 1000 techniques. As long as you know very well four and you know to combine them, you will have hundreds of variations. Does it make sense? I know it’s a bit hard to understand, but its much more simple than trying to learn all the thousands of positions that there are in jiu-jitsu and in the end of the day, you feel that nothing works, because you haven’t specialized in any of them.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: What are the most dangerous passes and grips that the half guard player must learn to deal with?

Bernardo Faria: I would say for beginners, when you are still learning the half guard, avoid your opponent to make pressure on your face with his shoulder, so don’t let him hold you down, make sure that you keep him in the knee shields, or go straight to the deep half-guard.

For who is already in the intermediate or advanced level, but also for the beginners, I would suggest to watch out for surprises submissions, like chokes, for example, Kimura, armbars. Many times when we are in the half-guard on bottom, we expect our opponent to try to pass our half-guard, but sometimes they can hit a submission and surprise us, so that’s why, I would suggest watching out for this.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: How can half guard players learn more about your system of half guard?

Bernardo Faria: I have been working a lot lately on spreading the knowledge that I have learned during my 17 years of BJJ career. Just this week for example I launched my 7th Instructional DVD (The Battle Tested Half-Guard 4 DVD Set – Link). This one is all about my favorite moves and updates from half guard. Also I made sure to include 50 minutes of myself rolling and commented with what I’m thinking and trying to do on each situation. Many times we watch instructional techniques online, we learn it, but we never know the exact time that we should do it, and timing in the high level is maybe more important than technique well executed. Sometimes you do something a little wrong in the right time and it works, and sometimes you do the perfect move in the wrong time and it doesn’t work. So that’s why I came up with this new format of Instructional (link of my new DVD – ). Also I have been posting a lot of tips and videos on my blog www.bernardofaria.comand on my YouTube channel Bernardo Faria BJJ.

Thanks, Jiu-Jitsu Times for the interview. It’s always a pleasure to talk with you guys. Congratulations for the huge work you all are doing for the BJJ community.



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