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The Dynamic Butterfly Guard with Adam Wardzinski
We’ve recently been getting little tastes of Adam Wardzinski’s newest butterfly guard instructional and the material is excellent...
It’s easy to follow, applicable, and if you’ve been following Wardzinski’s career as of late, you know his technique is also effective at the highest levels.
The butterfly guard is incredibly versatile and it can be implemented by players of all shapes and sizes. Often times the standard butterfly sweep comes to mind when we hear the term butterfly guard. But there is so much more to discover with the position and Wardzinski is making that abundantly clear with his newest instructional.
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I’ve always found the butterfly guard to be incredibly fun to play. At first, because of the open nature of the position you may experience getting your guard passed quite a bit and there may be some struggle to get things started. But once you find some solid ground, and can m maintain the position a whole world of options begin to present themselves and the butterfly guard becomes a joy to work from.
Some of the greatest players of our time have developed the butterfly guard into their home base. Watching these elite athletes display a level of comfort from the position is jaw dropping, and for all of us aspiring butterfly guard players, it's just downright inspirational.
In order to bring the butterfly guard to life, we need options. Not only can we seep from the butterfly guard, but we can also take the back, submit, and transition. If you’re a leg lock fan, the entries from the butterfly guard are endless. Learning a bit about each of these possibilities will transform your butterfly guard in to a dangerous and highly effective position.
As Wardzinski continues to emerge as one of these top tier butterfly guard players it would serve us well to study his game and begin to understand what makes it tick. Let’s look at a few videos that he’s released recently. We’ll get an idea here of what he’s been working on and see if we can pick up some critical details to help us advance our own butterfly guard game!
Before we get started check out this highlight video. Here, some of Wardzinski’s best moments using the butterfly guard in a competition setting have been captured for your viewing pleasure. Watch him put the butterfly guard to work in a variety of different ways as he applies it to each different scenario. This is a fun watch.
Alright, now that your pumped up about the butterfly guard, let’s get to some technique. In this first video we’ll get a look at a back take. Check it out!
Beginning in the butterfly guard with an over hook and the far arm controlled, Wardzinski attempts a classic BFG sweep. His partner doesn’t accept the reversal and returns to a base. As Wardzinski explains, this is a common problem with the sweep. Usually due to poor control of the far arm. This can be caused by a number of factors. When this occurs, it gives Wardzinski an opportunity to acquire the back.
As Wardzinski performs the sweep, his partner lands on all fours. Here, he makes a switch. His butterfly hook slides down his partner’s leg to his instep. He then brings his opposite leg across, folding it over the back of his partners knee (think half guard hook). With an extension of his newly positioned feet, Wardzinski brings his partner down to the mat. His under hook is traded for a tight waist, which gives him the ability to get to his elbow. From here, Wardzinski chops his partner’s bicep to bring the elbow to the mat. Using his half guard hook that’s now weaved around the shin, he extends his partners leg and pulls the hips toward him to complete the back take.
This happens to me quite often. Sometimes, I’ll follow my opponent up to my knees as well, but I’ve gotten myself in some trouble doing so. I like this option. Nothing is being given up, and probably in the worst-case scenario you would just find yourself in half guard.
In this next video Wardzinski is employing a whizzer as a means of trapping the near side arm. Here, he gives us some ideas on switching sides with a couple of different variations. Have a look!
With a whizzer firmly in place on the near side, Wardzinski is set up in BFG to sweep, but his partner has established a strong base and is meeting Wardzinski with some heavy resistance. To combat his efforts Wardzinski uses a post of his right hand to switch his base. His posted hand then quickly transitions to the back of his partner’s head, pushing it downward toward the mat. His right instep is now charged with the task of elevation and completing the sweep.
From the exact same scenario, Wardzinski can also perform the same hip switch and looks to acquire another over hook as he switches sides. This provides him with the ability to execute the same sweep. If his partner defends here as Wardzinski is working through the movements, he can switch once again back to the other side because of the control he’s acquired over both arms.
Having two over hooks is incredibly controlling, and as you can see it allows us to execute the reversal from either side. As our partner defends, we can simply continue to switch sides until we find a sweep that sticks. The off-balancing properties of this kind of control are an absolute nightmare for the other player and the reversal almost seems imminent if we can set ourselves up with this type of control.
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Another way to position ourselves in the butterfly guard is by acquiring double under hooks. If you can establish this type of control, your opponent will have a very difficult time stopping elevation and establishing a solid base to defend the position.
In this next video, Wardzinski uses double under hooks to control the position and take the back. Like the double over hooks, the double under hooks will again create an immense amount of difficulty for the opposing party. Check this out.
From the beginning of his instruction, I can already see some things I’m not doing correctly. Wardzinski uses an S-grip, and what I feel may be the most important detail, he hikes his elbows high into the armpits of his partner. I feel that many times if I get here, I allow my elbows to ride low, making things much more difficult for myself. This is a good detail.
Another critical component for sauces here. As Wardzinski falls back he’s sure to not go flat to his back. He takes an angle and falls to his hip. He then hokes his elbow even higher to open the space under his partners arm. He removes his top hook using the same weaved leg control from the previous back take. He continues by using a small kicking motion to release his head and come up, acquiring a tight waist. From here Wardzinski can choose to take the back in the same extending and pulling manner as before, or he can opt to take a seat belt grip and begin to climb over the top of his partner and enter the far side hook.
There are some excellent ideas here, and Wardzinski’s fresh takes on the position are incredibly helpful. His mechanics and details are next level! I personally picked up quite a bit of helpful information from these videos. Hope you did too, good luck!
Forcing an opponent into limited passing options will help Adam address these 5 components listed above. His head positioning will make his opponent start to circle around the butterfly guard. This is perfect because Adam can now establish the grip on the posting arm he needs. Since the circling of the passer surely changed the dynamics of the base Adam’s bottom leg is able to activate and reset his base during or before the sweep. All while going to his side to execute the sweep. All 5 mistakes are addressed!
Adam Wardzinski has proven that you can take basic games and make them work at all levels, even the elite! Butterfly guard is a game that people of all shapes and sizes can find success. If you like the above video from Adam’s YouTube, you will surely like Butterfly Guard Re-Discovered by Adam Wardzinski. BJJ Fanatics has his DVD! Check it out here!