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Add Some Variety to Your Butterfly Guard with These 3 Unique Reversals
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Add Some Variety to Your Butterfly Guard with These 3 Unique Reversals

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 Add Some Reversal Variety To Your Butterfly Guard Game!

The butterfly guard and its attractive set of utilities is favorite among some of the best players in the world. It’s a preferred open guard platform to practitioners of all sizes and shapes, and it continues to be adapted, transformed, and evolved over the course of its lifespan. The butterfly guard is not a recent addition to BJJ. If you’ve ever seen the famous video of Pedro Sauer defeating Lance Bachelor in a challenge match, the butterfly sweep makes an appearance there in its rawest form.

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Although the butterfly guard is utilized and loved by many, it has many faces, and different players have shaped it to fit their needs. From sweeps, to submissions, back takes, and beautiful transitions, the butterfly guard is dynamic, and well rounded.

One of the most popular techniques from the butterfly guard, is the butterfly guard sweep. This is usually the first concept we’re introduced to when we’ve elected to begin learning the inner workings of the position. When I first learned the sweep, I was only presented with one certain set of ideas. They involved an under hook, an over hook, and my head being close to my partners heart. As more information became available and I broadened my horizons a bit, I learned several different variations of the sweep, as well as other sweeps from the butterfly guard.

Let’s take a look at three different ways the butterfly guard is used to execute some less common sweeps, by some of its biggest fans and highest-level players. Enjoy!

Let’s start with Adam Wardzinski. Take a look at how he chooses to engage when using the butterfly guard.

 

Wardzinski is employing a cross grip while setting up his BF guard. He’s securing his partner’s right arm with his right hand and the seam on the back of his partner triceps with his left hand. This is an uncommon grip set, but provides tons of control. Wardzinski then drags his partners arm across his right side and plants his right foot firmly on his partners hip. As his partner answers with posturing, he changes the triceps grip to a grip on the belt. Here, an opportunity is created for Wardzinski to dive under his partner, and use a sort of modified pendulum sweep with the aid of the butterfly hook. This is a super unique way to reverse from BF guard!

Check out Bruno Malfacine’s configuration. He’s using a traditional under hook on the same side as the hook he’s using to elevate his partner. He couples this with a pants grip on the outside of his opponents’ right knee. He then uses his BF hook to create a little distance, and give himself room to come up. As Malfacine performs what I’d call a grapplers lift, he uses the grip on the pants to side his partners knee out from underneath him. Very slick!

Check out this duck under style sweep from the BF guard from Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa.

In this set up, Barbosa is also using a fairly common grip set; a combination of the under hook, and a grip on his partners sleeve. But his concept here is anything but traditional. Barbosa configures his grip to ensure that as he brings his partner forward his hand can easily travel to the mat with little trouble. After his partner has been brought to the mat, and is firmly planted in position on his posted arm, Barbosa brings his head into the space near his partner’s armpit.

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Similar to a classic wrestling duck under. Barbosa then pushes backwards with his head, causing his partner to collapse. If the stars align there’s a brief moment here where an armbar can be executed. If you elect to forego the arm lock, you can easily travel to your knees for the reversal, or make your way to the back.

So, there you have it. Three alternative methods to sweep from the butterfly guard. It amazes me how these elite level BJJ players continue to bring new life to classic positions. This is part of the reason BJJ is so amazing. It’s constantly evolving, always improving, and we’ll never know it all! That’s what keeps us coming back. Enjoy!

 Is butterfly guard your position, but maybe you want to freshen it up, or learn some new skills? Well, check out Adam Wardzinski's butterfly guard system, Butterfly Guard Rediscovered available here from BJJ Fanatics! Check it out here!

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