How to Build a Half Guard – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Seminar

Giroux Brothers Martial Arts will be hosting BJJ Black Belt Chris Martell for an exciting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Seminar:

New Date: Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Session 1:  10am – 12:30pm

Session 2:  2pm – 4pm

Session 3:  5pm – 7pm

The rumors of my death have been exaggerated.


Chris Martell

Chris Martell is the only Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt in New England under BJJ legend Professor Roy Harris.  Chris was the founder and head instructor of the Modern Self-Defense Center from 2002-2012, where he taught both gi and no-gi grappling (as well as several other Martial Arts).  He is a published author in the field of Self-Defense.  Chris is known for his analytic approach and his ability to teach complex topics simply.

In his FIRST public seminar in the almost 3 years since he earned his BJJ black belt, Chris will be teaching his absolute favorite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu topic, which is also the subject of his upcoming DVD/app instructional:


Participants will NOT just learn how to play half guard, but also (and more importantly) how to DEVELOP AND TRAIN the material presented.  All techniques and tactics will be equally applicable to both gi and no-gi training (a gi is not required, but you are welcome to wear one if you prefer).  The seminar will be divided into 3 sessions:


  • Why Half Guard is the first position in BJJ that takes you to another level of understanding
  • The single most important aspect of HG play that changes everything
  • The 3-5 arm movements that keep him off of your chest, and how to develop them
  • The First Attack: standard version, anti-wrestler version, and super-tired version
  • The Second Attack: 3 methods for 3 ranges
  • The Third Attack: 2 variations
  • The systematic approach for the 3 attacks: control and attack at will
  • The second leg position – and what to do with it
  • What do you move when you can’t move your hips?
  • Drills to develop the arms
  • Drills to develop the legs
  • Drills to develop the essential aspect of the Half Guard
  • Drills to build timing for the 3 attacks
  • Drills for additional movement and control
  • Why this particular style of Half Guard teaches you to escape the Side
  • Why this particular style of Half Guard makes your Guard so difficult to pass…even if you never use the Half Guard again
  • How to develop your Half Guard even if you don’t have cooperative partners (this is how Chris did it!)


  • Three Hold-Down positions where you can hold him and be HEAVY
  • How to visualize his body when he’s using Half Guard — and how to visualize yours
  • Passing from Hold-Down #1 in both directions
  • Passing from Hold-Down #2 in both directions
  • A Sneaky Submission from Hold-Down #2 – if he doesn’t tap, you get the guard pass
  • Transitioning to Hold-Down #3
  • Passing from Hold-Down #3, the friendly way
  • Passing from Hold-Down #3, the unfriendly way
  • 2 Methods to escaping the Lockdown: The Wedge and The “Rickson”
  • Preventing the Lockdown position entirely
  • Escaping a tight grip when he triangles his legs around yours
  • 2 Quick Submissions from Hold-Down #3 that don’t sacrifice your position
  • Drilling the path from Hold-Down #1, through the other positions, to the Mount/Side



This session will focus on counters to the Half Guard Top Level 1 from Session 2, including:

  • 4 ways to regain the dominant position against Hold-down #1
  • How to sweep when you struggle with the first 4
  • The bottom position that defends Hold-Down #3
  • BONUS:  Mount Escape “Sticky Point” – nobody will like trying to hold the Mount on you after this
  • Sweeping from under HD#3 – ol’ faithful
  • 3 variations to flow around resistance to the sweep
  • Kimura prevention, escape, and counters under HD#3
  • Q&A on “All Things Half Guard Development”

Because this session will require a greater familiarity with movement and timing, novice grapplers will not be allowed in Session 3.

 Where is the seminar?

The seminar will be held at Adaptive Movement Parkour, 635 New Park Avenue, West Hartford CT 06110.  When you turn into 635 New Park Avenue, drive to the end and take a Right behind the 2nd building.  AMP will be to your right, across from Voltage Gaming and Crossfit Relentless.  AMP offers a tremendous amount of mat space, on a mix of Swain and Zebra grappling mats.

Adaptive Movement Parkour isn’t quite ready yet!  Final construction is underway but no peeking!  In the interim, the seminar has moved to Giroux Brothers Martial Arts at 160 Oak Street (Unit 210), Glastonbury, CT.  Many, many thanks to Jeff Giroux and our friends at GB Martial Arts for graciously offering to host our seminar while AMP receives it finishing touches.

Who should attend?

Anyone training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or other grappling methods will learn a lot.  Beginners (White belts and Blue belts) will especially benefit from attending, as the Half Guard position is rarely taught, or rarely taught in details, at their level.  This seminar will provide a complete and systematic way to approach those positions, as well as 2 other important aspects: how to understand the half guard in context, and how to develop it (and other areas) as one progresses through the belts.  Intermediate and Advanced grapplers will benefit from the conceptual side of the workshop, seeing how Chris integrates the Half Guard with related areas, as well as creating a repeatable system that can be taught to lower belts with dramatic results.  Learn how Chris organizes, teaches, and drills the information, and how he selects the pieces to create a minimalist yet complete web of information.

What should I bring?

Bring water bottles, snacks, a notebook and pens (taking notes is not required, but is recommended). Cameras are welcome but no video, please, as we will be recording some parts of the seminar ourselves.  Wear comfortable clothing for grappling.  Gi or no-gi apparel are equally welcome, as the material will pertain to both, so please wear whatever is most comfortable. Wrestling shoes are also welcome.  We will take breaks for rest and food between each session (as well as short water breaks during the sessions).  There are many convenient local places for lunch, dinner, or grabbing snacks between the sessions.

Early Bird Pricing (Before December 31st, 2014 January 7th, 2015)

$59 1 Session (Choose Between Session 1 and Session 2)
$99 2 Sessions  (Must be Sessions 1 and 2)
FREE Add Session 3 (Blue Belts & Up Only)

Late Registration (January 1st 8th, 2015 – March 29th)

$75 1 Session (Choose Between Session 1 and Session 2)
$125 2 Sessions  (Must be Sessions 1 and 2)
$20 Add Session 3 (Blue Belts & Up Only)


Register Now via Paypal

Use the paypal link below to register conveniently and securely.  You will receive an email confirmation of your payment and place in the seminar.  Select the sessions in the dropdown bar, enter your name (or the name of the person attending, if that isn’t you), and click the button!

Half Guard Workshop with BJJ Black Belt Chris Martell
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