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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

22 September 2009

22/09/2009 - Beginner

Class #241

RGA High Wycombe, (BJJ), Kev Capel, High Wycombe, UK - 22/09/2009

Today would involve a little more training than Thursday, as while both nights are split into beginner and intermediate/advanced classes, on Thursday its just extra sparring. On Tuesday, the split is sufficiently clear that I'll stick it into two entries rather than last time, when I combined the hour of sparring into the beginners class write-up.

Kev's focus for the beginner class was butterfly guard, providing us with two options for sweeping and passing respectively. More than that, however, he wanted to get across the principles involved in butterfly guard: balance and leverage. Towards that end, we started with a drill where we started in butterfly guard, locked both hands behind our partner then leaned back and lifted at the same time.

That led on to the first butterfly sweep. Its a fairly basic one, which starts by gripping their same side sleeve and collar. You scoot slightly away, maintaining a hook with your foot underneath their other leg. For the sweep, lean back, simultaneously pushing their sleeve down between their legs while you lift with your hook. Done right, you should end up in mount.

The point here is to use the momentum and leverage you've created by leaning back, rather than trying to lift them up purely with your hooking foot. Unless you're very strong, or your partner is very small, that isn't going to work. If on the other hand you get the leverage right, but they are still too big, you can drive off the toes of your other foot to add some power.

The next butterfly sweep is similar, but works both gi and nogi. Instead of grabbing their collar, you're going to underhook them on the same side as your hooking foot, reaching your hand around their back. With your other hand, you'll grab their elbow instead of their sleeve. Otherwise, it is the same motion as before, pulling their arm in as you lean back and lift, rolling on top into mount.

Like last time, Kev then provided the other side of the equation, with two passes. His opening butterfly pass involved flattening them out before they can lean back and lift you up. You aren't out of danger, as they can use their butterfly hooks to move you back and sit up again, but it gives you some time to work.

Now that they're flat, wrap around the outside of their leg with your arm, which stops them lifting your leg with their hook. Press your other side shoulder into their torso, then raise your hips and walk around into side control. You can also use a hand to push their other leg, if you're having trouble clearing that space.

The pressure from your shoulder is essential here: that will pin them down as you walk around. Raising your hips takes your weight off them, so you need to use your shoulder to make sure you keep gravity on your side.

The next butterfly pass is much the same, with one difference. Instead of pinning their leg and walking around, you're going to bring one of your legs back to release their hook. You can now reinsert the knee by the instep of their other foot, so that you now have both legs against their single limb.

That also means you can bring all your weight to bear on that one side, trapping that leg, while their other foot has nothing to hook. As before, walk your legs around to side control, maintaining pressure, pushing their leg out of the way if you need to.

In specific sparring, I spent most of my time readjusting underneath, as ever ending up in one of those boring half guard cycles where they bring their knee through, then you re-establish your lock, over and over. I'm trying to get more on my side and look to see if I can get to the back, but I'm still ending up with my torso on the wrong side most of the time. I need more hip movement, more bumping and perhaps more threatening for some kind of attack (not that I expect to even get close to submitting somebody, but it might help give me space).

During guard passing, I'm pleased I managed to get myself to stand up, but I ended up in a very vulnerable bent over posture, so plopped straight back down most of the time. Later I tried to straighten up, but left my arm out in the process, which my partner happily took for an easy submission. Still, its a start, so I just have to keep on standing until I get better posture and balance.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Slidey -

    I've really developed my half guard game some this year. If you're getting stuck flat on your back before getting your underhook try to:

    1. Bridge (don't bump) strong into your opp
    2. Swing your arm/hand between your head and your opp's head
    3. Fill in the space between you and your opp by getting to your side with the underhook.

    The learning moment for me was to learn to bridge into my opp using my shoulder and neck.

    If you're having trouble getting to the back once on your side with an underhook, try to (a) rake your opp's captured foot with your far foot and (b) rotate onto your knees (this will automatically shift your hips).

    Not sure if this helps. . . . but hope it does.