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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

21 September 2011

21/09/2011 - Gracie Barra Technique (Butterfly Guard)

Class #419
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Nicolai 'Geeza' Holt, Bristol, UK - 21/09/2011

Due to the fact I've trained all over the country, I bump into old training partners on a semi-regular basis. Tonight it was Alex, who is the first guy I met from Gracie Barra Birmingham back when I first started training there. He has now moved to Bristol, though mentioned that the club he started up North - Lakes BJJ – is still going.

Geeza kicked off with the basic butterfly sweep (though Geeza refers to the position as seated guard). From closed guard, shrimp out, foot on their hip to make space, bringing the other knee through across their chest. This stops them from stacking you, meaning you have a chance to insert both butterfly hooks. You're also gripping their same side sleeve by the elbow, while your other hand shoots through for a deep underhook.

From there, lift with your foot on the underhook side, pulling the sleeve grip. Your other leg threads underneath the underhook side leg, as you continue to drive their weight through their knee. Bring them to the mat, then transition to scarf hold or side control.

Next, Geeza showed a counter, which moves into a butterfly pass. If they establish butterfly guard and are about to sweep, raise the knee on the non-underhooked side. Drive forward to put their back on the mat, putting your head next to theirs. On the elbow-gripped side, push your hand through for an underhook.

In combination with your head and shoulder pressure, that should give you good control of their upper body. Shove their underhook side knee to the mat, then slide your non-underhook side knee over towards the mat. When you have your knee over the top of their leg, switch your hand from their knee to their same side arm and pull up. Pass to scarf hold.

Continuing the flow, Geeza then demonstrated a counter to that pass, which becomes a deep half guard sweep. As soon as they try for the knee cut pass, grab their knee and shove it to one side. At the same time, swing your legs and dive underneath them. The aim is to get into deep half, with your inside arm holding their leg, your outside arm reaching past to grab behind them. Secure that with a grip on their belt.

Having got to deep half, move your hand from their leg to their ankle and bend it towards you. Kick up with your inside leg to initiate the sweep. During your roll to the top, maintain the grip on their belt. That will mean you've immobilised their other leg, so they can't close their guard. Therefore it should be easy to extricate your leg and establish side control.

Specific sparring from there emphasised something I already knew: my butterfly guard is rubbish. In terms of passing, I was making fundamental errors like raising both knees, which was asking to be swept. I need to make sure I always keep my hips heavy, and definitely don't raise the knee on the underhooked side. I also wasn't going for the technique we'd just learned, which is another basic mistake.

Underneath, I was looking to use Chiu's tips on positioning, but without much success. I'll have to go review my notes, as I think I forgot all the important parts. Also, Geeza reminded me that I need to keep my knee outside of his hips, or he can just squash my leg and move round to pass. As it seems to be such a weak position for me right now, I should start pulling butterfly guard (as I used to in the past, thanks to Kintanon's advice). I'm short with little legs, which I'm told is ideal for butterfly guard. Hopefully that will help me to eventually get the hang of it.

Tomorrow, my girlfriend is keeping her promise from my birthday to check out my class. Exciting stuff, although it does mean I've been even more extensive in my pre-lesson preparation. Probably a bit too much, but meh. ;)

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