Butterfly Guard Basics (diary entry)

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The first hour of my couple clients’ new course on Submission Grappling/Ground Fighting looked at the butterfly guard. We covered three sweeps, including two different types.

After our normal specific warm-up and muscle activation we moved onto the fundamentals of the butterfly guard. Having covered some posture work in our warm-up, I specified the importance of a concave back so that the core was fully engaged and it was difficult for an opponent to flatten a fighter out. We also covered foot and knee positions, maintaining that active structure for controlling an opponent. A person fighting from butterfly guard needs to get under an opponent’s balance point and keep their knees at an angle to prevent them being pinned together. The feet need to become “sticky hooks” with the toes in dorsiflexion behind the opponent’s lower hamstrings or behind their knees.

Butterfly guard sweeps work as counters to a pressing opponent. If an opponent does not wish to engage the fighter has to either bait them or stand up. We began with chest-to-chest sweeps. As the name describes, it involves gripping the opponent’s upper body at close range. This is usually achieved using some form of under-hook combination grip such as double-unders, over-unders or reverse seatbelt grip. The simplest and most successful sweep from this position involves the fighter then rocking back, ensuring they maintain a strong position as described in the previous paragraph and turning to one side, landing in full-mount.

We then moved onto non-chest-to-chest sweeps. These sweeps are usually fought for from mid-range and begin with a lot of hand fighting. The fighter doesn’t begin with their hooks in place. They need to strip collar ties and fight for wrist grips whilst also attacking the opponent’s legs with their feet. After getting my two clients used to the hand-fighting, we looked at securing arm-drags from the outside and inside. When getting an outside arm-drag the inside hook and collar tie are used to actively throw the opponent over into a knee-pin. The inside arm-drag includes a wrist-grab (as per our wrestling training) and is then combined with a kick to the front of the knee, giving the fighter the back. From here we went to back-mount.

The lesson finished with 2 x 2 minutes specific guard-pass sparring.

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