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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a purple belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2016 Can Sönmez

01 March 2012

01/03/2012 - Teaching (Attacking Butterfly Guard)

Teaching #044
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 01/03/2012

The teaching schedule has shifted since last week. Having previously decided on sticking with one position per month, Geeza instead instituted a sixteen week curriculum which included the fairly broad designation of 'guard', which would have meant I could continue working on my previous lesson plans. That's now changed slightly, so that all the instructors are expected to work on a specific type of guard in keeping with what everyone else is teaching. That's good for consistency, though it does force me to explore some guards I otherwise would have left until later.

Butterfly is one of those guards. Marcelo Garcia has written that when passing butterfly guard, it's important to keep in mind that "unlike the closed guard or half guard, in the butterfly guard, your opponent is not trying to hold you in place." In my opinion, the ensuing dynamism and movement makes butterfly guard a more advanced position, which requires greater sensitivity and timing than closed or half guard.

So, I stuck with the most basic technique in butterfly, which is the classic butterfly sweep. There are three main grips to try. Two less common options are grabbing the neck, or grabbing the same side sleeve and collar: the latter can be useful if you want to transition to a choke, or perhaps back to closed guard to go for a scissor or knee push sweep. The orthodox method is to establish a deep underhook with your arm, reaching around their back and/or grabbing their belt.

Saulo Ribeiro emphasises that you must be close with the shoulder to generate sufficient leverage. Saulo also likes to put a hand out behind him for base, which contrasts with others who prefer to grab the knee. It is worth experimenting with several options. One of the best parts about training in jiu jitsu is that it is so individual. There is rarely a single 'right' way to do any technique, which is also part of what makes jiu jitsu so complex.

The finish is typically to drop to the side on your shoulder, rather than straight backwards. At that point, reach for their arm (grabbing either the sleeve or their elbow), then kick up with your leg to flick them over to side control. Again, Saulo deviates here from some other instructors, who prefer to hold the arm earlier. Saulo's perspective is that this 'locks you to your opponent'. As with the earlier grips, it is worth playing with several options.

Saulo also has a follow-up to the sweep, when they attempt to counter. If they shift their weight and bring their arm back out of reach, it will be difficult to complete the basic sweep. You need that arm, or they'll just post out. Instead, you can raise up, grab their knee, then drive forwards with your shoulder. Your hand prevents their knee from moving backwards, which should enable you to slide through to side control or scarf hold. If they move their knee out of reach as well as their arm, you can do a technical stand up. Reach down to grab their knee and again drive forwards: because you've stood up, you've now got gravity on your side.

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