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The Butterfly Sweep, Simple and Effective

The Butterfly Sweep, Simple and Effective


The butterfly sweep has long been one of the most simple and effective sweeps in bjj.  The butterfly sweep is one of the first sweeps many bjj practitioners will learn and is one of the most underrated sweeps.  Marcelo Garcia is infamous for utilizing the butterfly sweep at the highest levels of competition and displaying the effectiveness.

The butterfly sweep is very effective for several reasons, it is extremely versatile, it is applicable from various positions and it is an aggressive move that can set several other positions up.  The butterfly sweep is often overlooked because of the simplicity but we can guarantee you it is well worth mastering.

The Butterfly Sweep Versatility

The butterfly sweep is extremely versatile.  You can use the butterfly sweep in gi, nogi, or MMA.  This sweep has long been one of the most utilized sweeps in all forms of grappling.  The butterfly sweep stems from a good butterfly hook and the butterfly hook is an essential part of all grappling. 

Judo, Wrestling, BJJ, and MMA all utilize the butterfly hook in various ways.  You can see the butterfly sweep being used in the UFC, ADCC, and Worlds.  Why is this?  Because it is one of the strongest sweeps in bjj, period, many of the highest level competitors have utilized this since the introduction of bjj competition.  Some of the greats that have used this position are Marcelo Garcia, Rafael Lovato, Xande Ribeiro, The Mendes Brothers, and more.  Check out this take on a butterfly sweep without an underhook below.   

The Butterfly Sweep from Various Positions

The butterfly sweep is also an amazing position because it is easily applicable from several different positions.  For example, you can use the butterfly sweep from half guard, half butterfly, De La Ricva, Reverse De La Riva, Closed Guard, and several other guards.

A good butterfly sweep and hook goes a long way, you can also use the butterfly sweep to retain guard or prevent a guard pass.  Maybe you don’t sweep your opponent but you can use it to negate them from several things.  Check out our article on “The Half Butterfly” to see how you can use this sweep from half guard.  Also, check out this butterfly sweep from half guard with Shaolin below.

The Butterfly Sweep for Set Ups

One of the best reasons to develop a good butterfly sweep is to set up other things such as guards, submissions, and more.  Some of the best ways to use the butterfly are to set up other guards.  Marcelo Garcia was infamous for this.  He would attempt the butterfly sweep and if he failed it, it would allow him to enter some of his favorite positions such as single leg X and X guard.

Many other people will use the butterfly sweep for leg lock entries, honey hole entries and several other submissions.  The guillotine is an excellent option from a failed butterfly sweep as is the reverse arm bar.  The possibilities are endless from the butterfly sweep so it is well worth learning.  Check out Marcelo Garcia’s take on the butterfly sweep below.

If you want to learn the butterfly sweep more thoroughly than check out Gregor Gracie’s DVD set “High Level Fundamentals.”  Gregor has very well-rounded and old school bjj, his instruction is second to none!


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