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Butterfly Guard Isn't Just for Sweeps Anymore!

Butterfly Guard Isn't Just for Sweeps Anymore!

Butterfly guard is one of the longest existing classic open guard positions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Sometimes referred to as "hooks guard", it consists of using the insteps of the feet, combined with curled toes to keep a constant connection to an opponent.  This connection can be used to help keep the opponent off base and to also draw them in allowing a butterfly guard player to control their opponent's weight and get them off balance sweeping them to either side or sometimes over their shoulder to secure the positional reversal.

In the video below, from his new Best of the Butterfly Guard series, Cesar Casamajo shows a unique back take from his Butterfly Guard set up.  Check it out below and let's break down some key points afterwards.  Enjoy!

 Let's look at some of the key points that make this position so effective for Casamajo.  These are the areas you will want to make sure you have nailed down so that you can quickly capitalize on the fact that most of the time a person who has you in butterfly guard is probably looking to sweep you over.

Key Point #1--The Butterfly Lapel

For Cesar Casamajo, the classic butterfly under hook control grip which utilizes the opponent's belt as a control point on their body and hips is not sufficient.  For this position to work most effectively, he requires that we utilize a lapel grip that reaches around the back to the opposite side and pulls the lapel tight.  This serves as a powerful body control and also secondarily serves to pull the opponent's shoulder and posture back in a way that begins to turn their body away, making them ripe for the back take.

Key Point #2--The Butterfly X

Cesar will set up his initial butterfly guard position with the classic hook in between the opponent's legs that everyone is used to if they've played butterfly.  What he does differently that makes his set up unique is he takes the other hook and puts it behind his own leg across the near side thigh of the opponent which forms an X across the thigh of the opponent.  This gives a better sense of control on the opponent's thigh and will ultimately make the path to the back even easier.

Key Point #3--Deep Underhook and Releasing the Hook

Once he has the initial set up in place, the next step is to get the deepest possible under hook on the near side armpit using the lapel grip (again, which is turning their body away from him).  He will then pull out the classic hook from between their legs and place it next to them using it help propel them forward, allowing him to duck his head under their arm and begin taking the back.  He will secure the seat belt as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

If you thought you knew butterfly guard before, this back take will show you some advanced options you may not have tried.  With another path to the back that can be built off of their fear of being dumped over to one side, you will increase the likelihood of a successful back take.  The three key points outlined above will also go a long way in improving the overall effectiveness of your butterfly game in general.

Check out Cesar Casamajo's full series Best of the Butterfly Guard now available at BJJ Fanatics!  You can get it here.

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