Today I want to talk about the importance of range in guard, and then the range micro-battles that occur within a specific style of guard.
Let’s get started…
Ranges Within Guard
If you’re trying to become a well rounded guard player then it’s important to realise that you’re going to use different guards at different ranges.
For example you might use a foot-on-the-hips spider guard at long range, and then progress through different forms of guard until you end up in the deep half guard which is the closest guard.
Of course just as YOU have a vote for which range to use your guard YOUR OPPONENT gets a vote too!
That’s why it’s called a ‘range battle’. You and your opponent are each trying to manipulate that match into occurring at your own preferred range.
It’s not that long or close range is better. It’s a matter of preference, both what range you prefer to work at AND what range your opponent is trying to get to.
The important thing is that you have options at each of the ranges so that you don’t have a giant blind spot your opponent can exploit.
Just as there are different ranges of guard and styles of guard that work best at specific ranges, there are also different ranges WITHIN a specific type of guard as well.
Understanding that there can be a slightly longer distance and slightly shorter distance variations within a specific style of guard is a really important concept.
Let’s illustrate that concept with one of the guards that has a great variety of ranges within it – the butterfly guard!
Ranges Within Butterfly Guard
The butterfly guard is a form of seated guard where your feet are on the inside of your opponent’s legs (click here for What Is The Butterfly Guard).
It’s also one of the most popular forms of guard these days, both with and without the gi.
But as I said earlier, within one style of guard – butterfly guard – you still have different micro ranges and micro range battles.
Consider the following 4 situations in which butterfly guard might occur…
- Long range (without any meaningful grips or connections yet),
- With a single lapel grip (or collar tie in no gi),
- With a single underhook, or
- With a double underhook.
Each one of these four grips and ranges are still part of the butterfly guard.
As you engage in range microbattles and close the distance you typically trade up on your grips and increase your level of control. For example it’s much harder for your opponent to simply sprint past your legs when you’ve got an underhook locked in compared to when he’s still gripfighting at a longer distance.
To master a form of guard it’s critically important to: a) be able to recognise which range of that guard you’re at, b) know how to transition between the ranges, and 3) have offensive and defensive options from each range of that guard.
This concept of within-guard range was extensively discussed on episode 287 of my podcast The Strenuous Life Podcast which is available in both video and audio format.
Scroll down to check them both out…
A Gameplan for the Butterfly Guard Focussing on Grips and Range
Here’s the video format of episode 287 of The Strenuous Life Podcast in which you’ll get a strong overview of the strategies and tactics within the butterfly guard…
How to Listen to the Advanced Fundamentals Episode in Podcast Format
I also released this conversation on my podcast (The Strenuous Life Podcast) as episode 287 which you can listen to on all podcast players, including the following popular platforms and apps…
If you don’t have a preferred podcast player you can can listen on the Grapplearts BJJ Master App which you can download for free for iPhone and iPad in the Apple App Store here or for Android devices in the Google Play Store here.
Or you can stream the audio without leaving this page by clicking play below…
About Nonstop Jiu-Jitsu, the Book
Brandon Mullins and I dedicate an entire section of the Nonstop Jiu-Jitsu book to the butterfly guard.
If you’re interested in developing your butterfly guard, or if you just like jiu-jitsu books, then scroll down to find out more about this bestselling title…
Nonstop Jiu-Jitsu is the giant new BJJ book that I cowrote with Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins.
This book is laid out in gorgeous full colour and multi-page spreads where you’ll learn plug and play gameplans for exactly how to control and submit your opponent on the ground. These techniques and combinations have been developed and tested over decades of competition so you know you can rely on them when the chips are down.
You’ll also get advanced details, training tips and conceptual breakdowns that will make your jiu-jitsu more powerful than ever before.
- 265 FULL COLOUR PAGES: Every page and technique is brought to life with high quality, full colour photography, clearly showing all the details you need to master the material.
- STEP-BY-STEP TECHNIQUES: Every technique is broken down into easy-to-follow steps so that you always know how to advance your position properly.
- DETAILS, CLOSEUPS AND ALTERNATE ANGLES: Every technique is shown from multiple angles, with special attention paid to the little details that make the difference between success and failure.
- FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENTS AND ADVANCED APPLICATIONS: The book covers the most important and fundamental movements in BJJ, exactly how to apply those movements in sparring, and how to link them together into advanced applications.
- COMPETITION PROVEN STRATEGIES: The techniques, tips and strategies shown have been field tested in hundreds of high level matches against some of the best competitors in the world.