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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

04 August 2014

04/08/2014 - Teaching | Butterfly Guard | Basic Sweep

Teaching #174
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 04/08/2014

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. On Carlos Machado's excellent Unstoppable DVD all about this sweep, he shows many more variations, but it is definitely a higher level instructional (so, I wouldn't recommend beginners pick it up). 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 (just like the cross-grip guard we did last week), 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.

If you've lifted them up but they aren't going over, try hopping towards your lifting leg with your other leg. That should eventually provide the leverage to knock them to the mat.

Teaching Notes: I added in two drills at the start, both to do with butterfly guard. First, get double underhooks from butterfly guard, then rock backwards and lift them up. Second, dropping to your side in a butterfly guard position (but solo), kicking your leg up into the air in the same motion as the sweep. I think next time, I'll add in the extra part that Dave Jacobs put on the end in his seminar. So, after you've done the sweeping motion, bring your leg through like you were switching into scarf hold after completing the sweep. I could possibly do that as a follow up to the first drill, to prevent getting too much thrown at them at once.

I think most people understood the sweep ok. I could emphasise that with the orthodox version, you have one hook in and your other leg at an angle, but it is technically possible to do with with both hooks in too (e.g., the double-grip 'switchback' variation I was trying on Saturday). I therefore don't have a problem with people trying that, but during drilling, I went round and suggested the other version was easier.

In sparring, I was looking to give people a chance at trying the sweep, while also practicing my passing a little. I'm not certain which passes I want to teach next week. I want to make sure they are the simplest, highest percentage options. Today, I was mainly playing with the pass where you lift up your knee then drive that sideways, but I wasn't doing it very successfully. On Wednesday, I might try the one that I tend to attempt when people put me in butterfly, which is grabbing their collar and driving them onto their back. I'll need to go review my notes to see what pass I did most often last time I was sparring against a lot of butterfly. :)

On a non-teaching note, I am still clearly leaving my arm out too much when sparring, as somebody almost caught me in an armbar. I was able to grab the back of their leg to stuff it, but I'm sure if they'd had more experience, that would have been sunk in. I'm not sure if it's something I'm doing with certain passes, or perhaps in some kind of guard defence. I think it's a passing thing: I'll keep an eye on it. In an ideal world I'd have a camera running the whole time, making both note-taking and sparring analysis way easier, but we don't quite have the set-up for that. Yet. One day! :D

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