A friend of mine asked me to film something on the half guard I’ve been working on. This turned into 30 minutes of footage that I’ve broken it down into 6 videos. I’ll be putting these up throughout the week. To start, here is the first one on the basics of the position and my main sweep.

In the past I’ve been criticized for not showing anything original and just copying techniques from famous people. I thought about it and maybe they’re right; I learn from all over and often end up teaching it later. I’ve always given credit to whoever I learned from and I try to offer something more, if just a clearer explanation. I didn’t think much of this until people started nagging me about it.

When I was talking with Leo Kirby about learning from people by copying then teaching others, he just said “Yeah, but isn’t that what everyone does?”

So I’ll be the first to say that I owe a great many people for what I show in these videos. This includes:

  • Eduardo de Lima, my instructor, who teaches a great half guard that he attributes to his friends Gordo (yes, that Gordo) and Jean-Jacques Machado.
  • Trog, my training partner (and contributor to one of the videos) for trouble shooting with me.
  • Crazy James, a black belt who’s been teaching me his half guard since I was a white belt.
  • Jay Valko for his amazing open guard transitions.
  • Leo Kirby for his z-guard instructional and advice.
  • Jeff Rockwell for his deep half guard tutorials, which he’ll say he got from Minotauro (more of that nasty copying then teaching).
  • Andreh Anderson for his half guard tutorials.
  • Marcelo Garcia for his approach to half guard, x-guard and the “leglock” guard.
  • Stephan Kesting for his half guard, butterfly guard and even kneebar DVDs.
  • Indrek Reiland for his free half guard instructional with good ideas like the double paw grip.
  • Gordo for his DVDs and for having done this since the dawn of time.
  • Eddie Bravo for bits and pieces of his half guard system.
  • Saulo Ribeiro for his half guard DVD and how he and his brother do reverse De la Riva and open guard.
  • Jean-Jacques Machado for his half and open guard in his books and ADCC matches.
  • Kenny Florian for his half guard sweeps in his no-gi seminar DVD.
  • Jeff Glover for the half guard I’ve picked up from watching him compete.
  • Franjinha for teaching half guard on the Paragon DVD.
  • Wilson Reis for his butterfly/half guard sweep underhooking the leg like in his EGO matches.
  • Gustavo Machado for his instructional DVD on half and quarter (arm wrapping) guard.
  • Baret Yoshida for his half guard sweeps in his Japanese book/DVD combo.

I’ve also got a lot of very helpful advice from posters on several BJJ forums.

I’m sure I’m forgetting people, but that’s a good chunk.

So what do I have to offer if I’m just “stealing” from all of these sources? In sampling from each of these people, I put together an approach and techniques that I liked better and I think I can explain how and why well enough to add a little more.

“Yeah, but isn’t that what everyone does?”