When it comes to open guards in Jiu Jitsu, one of the most versatile and dynamic has to be the butterfly guard. The butterfly guard has been a favorite of some legendary black belts and has proven its effectiveness in BJJ, submission wrestling and MMA. High percentage sweeps and submissions are available from the guard, which leads to its popularity. While traces of the butterfly guard have been seen as far back as the 1970’s, it really became popularized and advanced in the 1990’s and 2000’s.
Probably the most famous use of this guard is by the BJJ legend and ADCC champ, Marcelo Garcia. Marcelo showed the true possibilities of the guard, by using it for sweeps, guillotine chokes, and arm drags from the position to dominate his opponents. By looking at any highlight of the Marcelo in action, you will see his heavy and successful use of the butterfly guard.
The beautiful thing about butterfly guard is that you don’t have to be Marcelo to be proficient with it. I use it all the time in rolling and competition. Here are some great techniques that you can use from butterfly in your daily trainings. Here is the first technique that is very high percentage. It is an arm drag from butterfly. The drag works very well from butterfly because the back is easily taken from it. Due to leg positioning with the guard, you already have one hook in to secure the back take. A simple, yet amazing technique.
Another great way to attack from butterfly is the use of a basic butterfly guard sweep. This sweep is one of the first you will learn from butterfly, because it is a fundamental, yet incredibly important sweep. This technique can get you right on top of your opponent so that you can play your top game. Stephen Kesting shows this sweep with nice detail.
Leg attacks are also highly available from butterfly. Eddie Cummings who has one of the best butterfly guards in all of no gi Jiu Jitsu, uses it all the time to set up his heel hook attacks. Yuri Simoes, who is also a top level competitor and uses the butterfly guard has a fun set up for a kneebar from a butterfly sweep. I use this set up that Yuri shows for kneebars and heel hooks. It works great!
To get good at butterfly guard, you must have good awareness on the mat. Because it is an open guard that is an active position, you cannot sit idly in it. Too many people do not have success with it, because they aren’t aware of their bodies in relations to the set ups and techniques. Don’t worry, you just have to play there actively and you will become good at the position. The versatility of this guard makes it work so well. It is a good position for any type of Jiu Jitsu competitor. Train it, use it and win with it. Oss!