Jul 17, 2009

Shutting Down the Half Guard - Stephen Kesting

I'm not sure if you guys subscribe to the grapplearts.com newsletter (subtle hint to go sign up), but Stephen Kesting put up a video on how Brock Lesnar shut down Frank Mir's half guard, and what we can learn from it.

Here is the video:


And the commentary:

Brock Lesnar probably wouldn't be on my list of people to invite to a book club or an evening of wine tasting. But love him or hate him, you have to admit that he's a hell of a fighter and force to be reckoned with.

What I found most interesting about Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir at UFC 100 was that it was a case study of how to shut down the half guard.

Frank spent most of the match in the half guard, and I have no doubt that he has a TON of highly effective sweeps and attacks from there.

But that night none of his techniques worked on Brock...

Of course it's partially that Brock Lesnar is a very large human being. I mean he actually cuts weight to make it down to the upper limit for heavyweights (265 lbs)!

He's also explosive, incredibly agile and has great endurance.

Let's start by taking a look at two strategies that form the foundation of most successful half guard attacks:

1. Being on your side, facing your opponent, and
2. Getting your body under his center of gravity

Now in the fight Frank Mir was basically never able to apply either strategy, and it wasn't only Brock's physical attributes that shut down Frank Mir's half guard game. There was a lot of deliberate technique there too!

Brock deliberately kept Frank on his back and/or facing away from him, and also didn't let him get under his center of gravity.

How did he do this? At various times in the fight Brock used the following techniques and tactics:

* He stiff armed his neck (keeping Frank away),
* He pinned the head and moved his body back
* He turned the head away with his forearm
* He secured the far underhook and applied chest pressure
* He used his head to grind into Frank's jaw, and drive into the chest and armpit
* He grabbed the far armpit to turn Frank's face away and place it directly in the line of fire

Finally, when Frank tried again to turn in at the very end of the fight, Brock let him turn, and secured the far wrist. The brutal flurry of unanswered blows that ended the fight came right after that.

The thing is that there are counters and preventive measures to all these half guard top position techniques and tactics. And I'm sure that Frank knows them and practiced them.

It's just that when the size difference is that large then your timing has to be razor sharp in order to apply your game. And a bit of luck helps too...

A rematch between these two fighters is inevitable. Maybe the next time Frank will be sharp enough or lucky enough to impose his half guard game on Brock!

I'd like to add that Mir was holding on to the Lockdown, preventing Brock from passing, but also locked his hips to Lesnar's. When the Lockdown isn't working, you have to let it go to be able to attack a little more freely.

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