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Guard Offense – Basic Butterfly Sweep


It’s funny sometimes how a name for a technique develops. Often times the name has no direct correlation to how a movement actually works. The Butterfly Sweep is this type of technique. Especially since it has nothing that resembles how a butterfly moves or acts. So this positional name probably came from the Butterfly Stretch which works on the flexibility of the inner thighs and hips.


Regardless, this sweep comes from the Butterfly Guard, which introduces the student to one of their first Sitting Guard positions. The sweep itself is a tutorial on how to utilize the lifting, hook position of the feet against the opponent’s legs, which is considered an advanced fundamental technique.


Let’s look at the details from the basic position:

· Most often you are in a sitting position and the opponent is on one or both knees.

· One of your arms underhooks and chops upward into their armpit.

· As you slide your hip slightly to the side get an overhook or wrist grab on their other arm.

· To apply the sweep, lean towards your shoulder on the overhook side, plant your same side foot, and lift their opposite leg using your foot.

· NOTE: Don’t fall to your back to sweep. It should be towards the side.

· After the sweep you tend to end up in a good position for a Cutter Pass or even into a Scarf Hold.


Here’s a couple other tidbits that can be helpful:

· If the opponent reaches for your free arm, they are giving you their arm to grab onto.

· If they push into you to counter they are giving you the energy to sweep more efficiently so fall to your side.

· If you’re wearing a Gi, ideally a cuff grip can be better than a pistol grip, but this really is more preferential.

· When you sweep don’t collapse your knee inward or they will stop the sweep.


These Butterfly Sweep variations can be helpful once you’ve mastered the basic version:

1. When the opponent flattens you out:

o Sometimes you sweep but your hips are too close to the opponent’s hips and they pressure forward to flatten your out

o Using either a cuff or pistol grip, push their arm between their own legs

o The arm push causes a type of forward rolling motion to the opponent, so with enough lift on their leg you should still be able to get the sweep.

o In NoGi, instead of a cuff or pistol grip focus instead on grabbing the “meat” of their hand.

2. When the opponent sits up higher

o Scoot Under – Marcelo Garcia style

o The sweep works by pulling the opponent over and sliding your hips under them (must do both)

o Apply the sweep immediately after “pulling & sliding”.

o This makes the opponent’s legs lighter to help with the sweeping action.

o Can also do off of the head control instead of the underhook.


Learn. Drill. Roll. TRANSFORM!

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