MMA Underground Forums

FINALLY - How to Build a Half Guard Seminar

This seminar has been THRICE RESCHEDULED because the construction just hasn't been finished. But it's finally going to happen in 3 weeks! 

Hi all,

Some of you know that Half Guard is my favorite topic.  I've been leading up to a DVD / app instructional on it for some time.  Well, it's finally happening. And I'm starting with a public seminar on the material, which we'll be filming for extra footage. We've had to change the date three times and the location ONCE...but we promised to make it happen, and we will! 

BUT ANYWAYS if you clicked this you probably want the seminar info.  Here it is!  

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

Sunday, March 29th

Session 1:  10am – 12:30pm
Session 2:  2pm – 4pm
Session 3:  5pm – 7pm

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 Giroux Brothers Martial Arts, located at 160 Oak Street, Unit 210, Glastonbury, Connecticut. 

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.


  • $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)


  • $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)

All registration is being handled via paypal.  You can find the links (and all the above info) by going to

Please help me spread the word --  all are welcome.  Feel free to pass it along to training partners and the like.  And even if you can't make it, help a brother out with a TTT. 

Thanks all.  I hope to see you on Sunday, March 29th!


Sounds quite interesting.

I try to avoid the 1/2 guard but see the value in learning this. I wish I was closer.

How far are you from NYC?

If I am in the area for work, I will try to stop by your school...... Is your school building as awesome as it looks on the website? Looks like a great space.

I remember when you first mentioned doing this and have been looking forward to it for a while. Can't wait for the dvd.

When's the app out? Phone Post 3.0

EazyG - we're 90 minutes from NYC. We're actually midway between NYC and Boston.

The pic on the site is my old building -- I sold the gym in 2012 to my staff so I could become a professional Ballroom Dancer again. They moved it a couple times and then closed down recently. The program will re-emerge out of Adaptive Movement Parkour in West Hartford, which is actually the coolest facility I've ever seen.  They're finishing up construction, which is why the seminar has been delayed.  We're moving it to a friend's BJJ gym so that we don't have any more surprise delays. 

Ghost of Swayze - thanks :)

demandango - no timeline yet. After the seminar and the new facility opening we'll start filming in earnest. The outline will be roughly what you see above for the seminar. I may also add some extra goodies.

Shut up and take our money for apps! Phone Post 3.0

iknowiknowiknowiknowiknowiknow :) :) :)

I just started a new job last month so I have SO little free time right now...


...and yet... I WANT to shut up and take your money with apps! (Wait, what?)

OK, so a few friends who are instructors asked if they could come...and also they wondered if it would be too basic.

So we made up a new rule today: if you're an instructor and you bring 3 students, you get in for free.  So...nothing to lose and everything to gain!  

No such thing as too basic imo.

Have you started work on a DVD or is that a ways off? Phone Post

Ghost of Swayze - I couldn't agree more.  Fundamentals are where it's at!

TexDeuce - The real story is: I've had the DVD outlined for years. I even filmed it once, but there was a problem with the footage and we couldn't use it.  I also felt a little funny creating a I scheduled this seminar as a way of building some momentum back up, putting some footage together, and then filming the rest.  So it's ironic that the seminar has been pushed back again and again (btw the building finally passed inspection TODAY, and it looks like we're almost done with snow), because it's been hard to build momentum off of it.  But in any event, we'll be filming the seminar and then using that as extra footage for the instructional...which I plan to finish in this lifetime.  

Thanks for the interest :) :)




ttt - seminar is finally here THIS SUNDAY

Instructors, the "bring 3 students, get in free" is still going 

So how did it go?

Well I'm biased, but it was great.  Even by the end of the first session, when we started drilling all the pieces integrated together, there were big smiles all around as people were controlling their partners effectively and pulling off the attacks that we worked on.  One white belt told me he literally had never been taught anything about half guard before the seminar, and yet by the end he was using it well and sweeping his partners smoothly in live drills.  

Because of the reschedulings, it was a small crowd, so we worked some extra pieces along the way.  The most common comment by the end of the day was "oh man, my brain is full, but I can't wait to start going over my notes and drilling all this."  Two of my own purple belt students were there, so certainly they've seen most of this before, but even they kept seeing pieces they hadn't before.  It was lots of fun.

One of the unfortunately casualties of changing the date was that my cameraman couldn't make it. But it's still headed for video as soon as I can carve out some time for filming...


Wait, so none of this was filmed? We're never getting this dvd, are we? :(

It's coming, I promise :)  It was nice to walk through all the material, in a single day, to make sure there were no holes in the flow charts, no questions that I had forgotten to include.  

It's definitely coming...I just can't promise how soon.  I'm a busy guy!