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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 January 2015

21/01/2015 - Teaching | Open Guard | Butterfly Sweep

Teaching #265
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 21/01/2015

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 (or neck and wrist in nogi): the latter can be useful if you want to transition to a choke in gi, 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 I've taught previously, along with the stiff arm guard I've been working on), 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 & Sparring Notes: There are lots of variations to the butterfly sweep, but I stuck with the basic one. I'm curious to try Rodrigo Pagani's 'goose neck' version, where he is hooking with both feet, driving his head into the chest and also gripping around both their arms with his hands. That's where the 'goose neck' comes in, using that kind of grip to both push down on their arms for control, while also lifting with your elbows to prevent them establishing a grip or getting their hand to the floor. Maybe on Thursday? I'll see who shows up.

In terms of teaching, I'm fairly comfortable with the basics of the butterfly sweep, at least when it comes to showing a simple application. I don't use butterfly guard much myself, but it fits in with that stiff arm approach I've been using a lot recently. Many of the same techniques apply, such as ankle pick sweeps and loop chokes. You could do a collar grab if you were gripping the collar, but for that deep underhook version, a back take makes more sense. That would fit in nicely with a progression to half guard next month, but I'll probably finish this month with some butterfly passes.

Worth emphasising the slight move backwards to start, in order to get their bum off their heels. Other than that, I wouldn't change too much about the class. I guess I could have thrown in the John Will method again in the middle, as it was another big class, as I forgot to use it again. I was pleased to get in a bit of sparring for the first time in ages, beginning with some 'king of the hill' specific sparring. Although that ended up just being one round with a guy who has done various martial arts and had an interesting approach. He immediately stood up and moved to the back, locking on a rear naked choke. Effective!

The only problem was the common issue where they end up choking your face, teeth and jaw rather than your neck. It's uncomfortable, but it's not something I normally tap to unless it's someone really strong and I'm in danger of really hurting my face. If he's able to adjust that and move to the neck, he'll have an excellent submission option, as he was very quick to get to the position. So I don't want to discourage people from trying the RNC, just note that it's going to be both more efficient and effective if they focus on getting the neck rather than the face. ;)

I also had two free spars, with the two women who regularly pop along to the Wednesday mixed class (yay, women's class success!). As I'm still getting back from my injury, that's perfect: they're the lightest people in class, so much less strain on my injured leg. It's also cool to see that they're developing that 'jiu jitsu sensitivity', like Tracey. They have an understanding of where their bodies should be, what they should be grabbing, where to move etc. I'm looking forward to seeing how they grow over the next few months: sparring them is going to get increasingly difficult (in a good way)! Zoe already has an awesome cross-face. :D

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