Add This Classic Guard to Your Game
Butterfly Guard has stood the test of time. It has seen a fair share of evolution in both technique and strategy. It can be utilized in both Gi and No-Gi, and allows for some sneaky entries into leg entanglements. If you like half guard or playing the leg game the butterfly guard can add a well of depth to your game plan.
One major evolution
In Jiu-Jitsu there can be an ebb and flow of what works and what is cutting edge. As techniques seem to fade they don’t simply disappear. This is where major breakthroughs can occur. When we were first taught any butterfly guard sweeps it commonly involved being squared up with the opponent and pulling their weight on top of us. Think Frank Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz. The modern version of the classic butterfly guard sweep involves being on one side of the opponent’s midline.
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Sweeps from butterfly guard today involve more of a “back to the wall” approach. Think of engaging the butterfly sweep with that wall stopping any backwards movement. This alleviates a common problem for the butterfly guarder, which is that the opponent’s weight becomes centered over your body and you become flattened onto your back. This allows the passer to “float” through the guarder’s legs, in a Gordon Ryan style floating pass.
Instead if you watch current butterfly guard aficionado Adam Wardzinski, he will make a large effort to get to the side of his shoulder to initiate the sweep. This diving motion maximizes the leverage of the butterfly hook, and reduces the chance of being flattened to your back.
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Strengths of the position
The butterfly guard finds its strength in being able to slow the action and allow for more precise angular adjustments to manipulate your opponent’s base. When we say slow the action it doesn’t mean stall. In fact quite the contrary, if someone tries to stall in butterfly guard there is a good chance that it will get blown through and passed. What it does do is allow you to sink dominant grips and be totally aware of the movements your opponent starts to make.
The gripping strategy is also an integral part to success in the butterfly guard. Adam makes good use of grips to sweep his opponent. A simple collar and sleeve grip can be used to start the grip chain sequence. The opponent will be compromised with their base and will have to make a choice to address the hooks Adam has set in, or the grips on their upper body. The passer will often try to address the hook(s). As their attention shifts towards the hooking leg, Adam will commonly pull himself deeper into position and latch onto his opponent’s belt. This is commonly seen as the most dominant grip in butterfly guard when wearing a gi.
Adam Wardzinski has kept the butterfly guard relevant and utilized at the highest level of Jiu-Jitsu. It's time for THE BUTTERFLY GUARD RE-DISCOVERED BY ADAM WARDZINSKI!
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