Lucas Leite Half Guard Study

Checkmat Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Lucas Leite is most famous for his half guard game. Using it to bring home Gold in the 2007 Worlds, and 2005 as a Brown Belt.

I stumbled upon this breakdown on Reddit from Gambledub (check out his youtube for some more sick breakdowns) showing how Lucas Leite uses the far hook to defeat the whizzer when he is stopped from taking the back. But first let's talk about Lucas' game. Lucas typically starts off with a shin shield to defend the pass and control the half guard position. From there he digs an underhook and switches his leg position to an outside hook. Utilizing his outside hook as a knee torque he is able to switch his hips to sweep over the top or to begin attacking the back.

The key to setting up the move is to bait a sweep to your left first, opening up your opponent's elbow for an underhook. You can see a good example of this in action in his match versus Clark Gracie at the 2011 Mundials.

Threatening the sweep, Clark is forced to base with his right arm. Once he opens just enough room, Lucas is able to pummel his left arm into an underhook position and begin to grab the far leg while using his outside hook (left leg) to knee torque Clark. At this point it's very hard to defend. 

Going back to our original video from Gambledub. Because of Lucas' high underhook position, opponents are able to get a whizzer which buys them time to free their leg. This has the potential to create a scramble and allow your opponent get away back to his feet.

While his opponent is using the whizzer to try to free his leg, Lucas will typically either attack a single leg or roll under for a sweep. The counter to such is framing the face which breaks Lucas' posture, making a single leg more difficult. However Lucas has a clever way of beating this, he body locks his opponent to throw in the far hook as soon as the opponent frees his leg. Now he is able to force a back take or continue into a modified truck position.

Now the only other counter guys attempt is a back step, but since Lucas has the gi pant controlled, it makes it harder to back step. If an opponent is able to break the grip and back step (or is no-gi), Lucas retracts his knee into a crab ride position shown in the video below to attack the back. Another option he has off the back step is more preventative and entails wrapping both legs with his outside hook, then bumping to the top.

We hope you like this blog post about Lucas' game. I personally play this position a lot and have found a lot of success doing so. One variation that I've seen from Robert Drysdale is to keep the underhook below your opponent's butt which prevents the whizzer which we'll discuss at a later date.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published