Month: November 2009

Last Thursday – Butterfly Guard Pass

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In drill we focused on securing a number of arm-bars from the guard. However, my main goal Thursday was to work on my butterfly guard  (BFG) passes during the rolling session. I have dabbled at it before but it occurred to me in the last class that it is the guard of choice for a lot of the experienced guys at our academy. I want to be able to pass butterfly guard as easily as I can full and open guard (on some players).

I only rolled twice after class so I could only work on it with Big Josh. I’ve noticed that we tend to nullify each other’s strengths so Josh was a perfect person to try it on. Usually when someone plays BFG I maintain my posture and try not to get sucked into playing his or her game. However for me to work my passes I had to go in close and in one pass I have to actually allow my opponent to wrap me up in order for me to practice the pass.

I noticed immediately that when I took this approach (trying to pass with an actual technique) it put Josh on the defense. I placed my right hand around his neck and with my left I tried to grab his left ankle and pull it so I could twist his body around and gain side control. I think with a smaller guy it might have worked more effectively. He’s about 6 ft and 215 lbs so it wasn’t as easy to pull his leg out from under him. I was able to force him on his side and make him switch to an open guard. When I tried the guard pass where you have to be wrapped up I allowed him to get position and then tried to work the pass. I was able to break the hold but not get the pass. The next time I baited him I think he sensed I was up to something. Almost as soon as he had me wrapped up, he let me go. He must have ‘smelled’ my eagerness.  As we went back and forth I was able to pass his butterfly guard a couple of times but I couldn’t establish side control. I will try that at a later date.

I also rolled with another Josh. He’s more of an MMA guy but he often attends BJJ classes. I hadn’t rolled with him in about 5 months and since that time he has mastered the 360 guard.  When he was on the ground I spent the majority of time trying to hold him in place long enough to work an attack. I tried to hold his ankles and pin him to the ground but once he started spinning I had to let go. At one point he was able to get my back but I was able to defend and turn into his guard. Every time I tried to pass he started to spin. The most I could accomplish with Josh was two takedowns.  (I was on the ground and he was standing on both takedowns.)

An overall good practice….

Felt like old times – also a special thanks to P90x

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After being away for such a long period I felt as if I hadn’t missed any time at all.

Ryan (purple belt) instructed class today and he was teaching us the “100 percent” technique that he has been working on the past few months with Art. He showed us how to achieve three submissions using it (guillotine, another neck crank and an arm-bar).

After drilling different variations of the 100 percent we began rolling. I first rolled with Eric, who is a fellow blue belt. Since I have been out for 2 months I decided to play by the adage, don’t let your opponent do anything he wants to do. I also decided not to voluntarily go to my back or let myself be reversed since Eric is hard to get off of me when he gains a dominant position. He started in butterfly  guard and I on my knees and at the end of four or five minutes that’s where we ended up. During that time I managed to almost pass his guard a number of times but he always recovered before I could gain full control. I rubbed my ear against his shirt at one time and felt the nastiest stinging sensation I have ever felt on my ears since I’ve been grappling. It stills feels sore tonight so I will have to keep an eye on it.

The next guy I rolled with (forgot his name, sorry) surprised me with with his improvements since the last time we rolled (about 5 months ago). He felt stronger than I remembered and his game had totally changed so once I was able to establish top control I held it until we finished. When we finished he kept saying I was strong. I kid you not he said it at least three times to me and then I heard him telling other people as I went to grab some water. I didn’t think I was using any extra strength but when we started grappling he had a new ‘wiriness’ that I didn’t remember so I played him tight instead of allowing him to play his game.

I rolled with another new guy (new to me) and he told me before he started that it didn’t matter if we stood up or started on our knees because he was going to go to his back as soon as he could. So we started on our knees. He is the kind of grappler that will wrap up your arms or head with his legs from any position. I was eventually able to tap him with a knuckle choke.

My final roll was with Ryan. I had to play a defensive game with him as he is very adept at using grips to disrupt your train of thought while he is working on something altogether different. After two minutes of me defending against him pulling my gi and trying to sweep me while he was in butterfly guard we eventually ended standing up. After a few moments I was able to get a hip toss. He immediately swept me when we hit the ground. The next minute or so I spent fending off his attacks. I need to work on securing control after my throws.

I was extremely happy with my performance today because I never tired and I didn’t sit out any rounds, which is excellent for me since I have been out for a while. I just finished a round of P90x (90 days) last Saturday and I believe this is why I was able to jump right into the swing of things.

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on!