Half Guard: The Erik Paulson Template

I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box. As a result, I need simple toggle switches, on – off decision making inputs to make my grappling computations easier. For my computer science friends, and deductive logic cronies, you will understand what I mean when I say, I try to build my grappling life around the conditional “If this, then that… If that, then this.”

Have I lost you yet? Probably, but I will continue anyway. You see, for me, I use simple conditionals to determine where I will move next while in the grappling world. For instance, on a Double Leg Takedown, “If I am able to lock my hands just beneath my opponent’s butt cheeks, I continue on to finish the Double.” “If I am unable to secure a locked hand grip, I switch to a single or simply abort, and reset.”

Others will argue that there are a myriad of placements for your hands during a double. But I like the locked grip version because it presents me with the simple decision making input I spoke of earlier. If grip is locked up, then proceed with takedown, if not, then don’t. Simple decision making for a slow, dumb oaf like myself.

What does this have to do with Erik Paulson’s Half Guard Template? Good question. For my game, I had a series of options for when on bottom, with the half guard and an underhook on the side where I had captured my opponent’s leg. For example if I had half guard on my opponent’s right leg, I had and underhook beneath my opponent’s right arm.

BUT, I didn’t have such a clear cut set of options for when my opponent had an underhook on his trapped leg side, forcing me to take an overhook. That is, if I had my opponent’s right leg trapped, but was forced to take an overhook on my opponent’s right arm I wasn’t sure what the best course of action was, so I asked Sensei Paulson what he liked to do in this case and he offered the above Template.

What I gleaned from the series was quite simple and effective and I have since implemented it into my game and my series of simple on – off, toggle switches. In my sling bladed internal dialog it sounds something like this. “If you have an overhook on the trapped leg side, bridge and turn, transition to a half butterfly guard, then transition to a full butterfly guard or switch to a half guard on the opposite leg where you should end up with an underhook on the trapped leg side.”

Do you have any simple guidelines and reference points which allow for quick, easy decision making while rolling? If so, we’d love to hear them in the comments area.

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for more DamageControlMMA.com!

4 replies
  1. NZBrendan
    NZBrendan says:

    Great video! The “on – off decision making inputs to make my grappling computations easier. ‘ is a great Analogy.

    Regarding ” “I need simple toggle switches, ” A logic gate “perform a logical operation on one or more logic inputs and produces a single logic output.”

    So with training and experience we correct our logic and we get programing that runs faster?

    Erik Paulson’s Half Guard Template : TEPHGT : Software that gets faster the more you use it and potentially offering unlimited digital responses to the Half Guard.
    Something that stuck with was a friend suggesting the concept of getting Analog Yes/No, all or nothing versus a digital (proportional and appropriate) response from people. It was in a work place environment. Kinda cool. Hope it makes sense?
    “The computer science friends, and deductive logic cronies can correct this” but I really like the concept. Time to shut down and recharge the batteries.

  2. natualbornfighter1
    natualbornfighter1 says:

    Hahahaha, Best entrance ever. Erik Paulson just has so much Knowelege. He’s like a real life encyclopedia of fighting. What an amazing skill set. The scary thing is I bet that’s only a fraction of what he actually knows from half guard. Just incredible!! Well done guys!


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