won and battles lost: When working from half Guard it’s important to understand that there are two major battles being fought, often at the same time – a battle for upper body grip dominance and a battle for lower body connection, balance and distance. It is very important to understand – YOU CAN LOSE ONE OF THOSE BATTLES AND STILL BE EFFECTIVE – BUT YOU CANT LOSE BOTH. Here, I have clearly lost the upper body battle. The athlete on top has secured far side underhook and cross face and so can pin my head and shoulders to the mat. Now the onus is on me to recognize that that battle is lost and start looking to win the battle. The safest way to do this is via the most fundamental in Jiu Jitsu – the elbow escape – IF YOU CAN WIN THAT LOWER BODY BATTLE YOU CAN TURN THE SITUATION AROUND AND TURN YOUR OPPONENTS UPPER BODY GRIPS INTO A LIABILITY. Learning to identify the two battles, the relationship between them and how to surrender one if the situation demands it and focus on the other is a big part of your development in the very important half guard game.

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