The 'Basic' Butterfly Guard Sweep

The ‘basic’ butterfly guard sweep is anything but basic. It is an extremely powerful and sophisticated attack that is difficult for your opponent to resist. In addition, this sweep has many followups and recounters, which can make life unstable and unpleasant for your opponent.

Major Sweeping Directions in the Butterfly Guard
In the butterfly guard you can sweep your opponent in every direction using different sweeps and variations. There are 4 major directions you can sweep him in:

  • To your right
  • To your left
  • Forwards
  • Backwards

In both following techniques I sweep my opponent to my right, but one variation takes him directly to the side and the other takes him over at a 45 degree angle.

Butterfly guard sweeps - two powerful variations for groundfighting

There are many different sweeps and attacks from the butterfly guard, but the ‘basic’ butterfly sweep is probably the most important move. Here I discuss the two most important variations of the ‘basic’ butterfly sweep. These two variations have many similarities and a few important differences. If you are serious about developing your butterfly guard you should train both variations: depending on the situation you find yourself in you may use either sweep.

  1. Sweeping your opponent at 45 degrees
  2. Sweeping your opponent sideways

Both variations can be done from a variety of grips and positions. Here we will start in a common position: sitting upright with one arm under his arm (an ‘underhook’) and one arm over his arm (an ‘overhook’).

The following is a small portion of the curriculum from my DVD, “Dynamic Guard Sweeps

Variation 1: Butterfly sweeping your opponent at 45 degrees

Step 1: Start in the butterfly guard with your left arm under your opponent’s arm (an ‘underhook’) and your right arm over your opponent’s arm (an ‘overhook’). Butterfly guard sweep variation 1 photo 1
Step 2:Release your overhooking arm and place that hand on the floor behind you… Butterfly guard sweep variation 1 photo 2
Step 2 continued:  …and shift your hips to your left, away from the direction you intend to sweep him.Note: This step allows you to shift your hips to a new angle. As you become more comfortable with this sweep you may be able to move your hips without posting your hand and/or get your opponent to move into the correct position so you don’t have to shift your hips at all. Butterfly guard sweep variation 1 photo 3
Step 3: Replace your right overhook and fall towards your right, bringing your opponent forward at a 45 degree angle… Butterfly guard sweep variation 1 photo 4
Step 3 continued: …make sure that you land on your side, and not flat on your back. Butterfly guard sweep variation 1 photo 5
Step 4: When your shoulder hits the ground use your top (left) leg to kick your opponent’s leg into the air. Simultaneously drive off the ground with your bottom (right) leg. Butterfly guard sweep variation 1 photo 6
Step 5: Keeping your weight on the ball of your right foot, turn your hips… Butterfly guard sweep variation 1 photo 7
Step 5 continued: …and come to the side, pinning your opponent in a modified scarf-hold position (Kuzure Kesa Gatame in Japanese). Butterfly guard sweep variation 1 photo 8
Step 5 alternative: Instead of going to the side, follow your opponent and end in the mount. Whether you go to the side or to mount depends on your preferences and the energy you feel from your opponent. Butterfly guard sweep variation 1 photo 9

Butterfly sweeping your opponent sideways

Step 1: Start in the butterfly guard with your left arm under your opponent’s arm (an ‘underhook’) and your right arm over your opponent’s arm (an ‘overhook’). Butterfly guard sweep variation 2  photo 1
Step 2: Prepare for the sweep by moving your head down to beside his shoulder and moving your right foot to the left Butterfly guard sweep variation 2  photo
Step 2 detail: Notice how my right foot has come underneath my left leg Butterfly Guard Sweep Variation 2 Detail
Step 3: Drive to the side, taking your opponent with you. Maintain your right overhook to prevent him from posting his arm. Butterfly guard sweep variation 2  photo 4
Step 4: When your shoulder hits the ground use your top leg to kick your opponent’s leg into the air (and simultaneously drive off the ground with your bottom leg). Butterfly guard sweep variation 2  photo 5
Step 5: Keeping your weight on the ball of your right foot, turn your hips… Butterfly guard sweep variation 2  photo 6
Step 5 continued: …and come to the side, pinning your opponent in a modified scarf-hold position (called Kuzure Kesa Gatame in Judo).Note: with the side-driving variation it is very difficult to come directly to the mount. Butterfly guard sweep variation 2  photo 7

guard sweeps

This sweep is a central technique in the Butterfly Guard and X Guard DVD.  Put that together with the Half Guard and you get a complete guard-sweeps-in-a-box set! Click here to find out more about our best-selling 2 DVD guard sweeps package with tons of high percentage guard attacks you can start using right away.

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