Mario Sperry

Mario Sperry Butterfly Guard Pass

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In my last post I talked about using Mario Sperry’s guard pass in class. I picked it up from this clip. I was able to pass with it once and had a number of near misses. I have used a natural variation of it in the past as a response to butterfly guards but never the well thought out version that Sperry presents.

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This guy just oozed confidence…

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I was finally able to return after a two week layoff (writing projects, deadlines, life in general). 

I paid for it though as my back began to seize up during warm-ups. We started by running around the academy for a long time and followed that up with shrimping.  We always shrimp for a long time but I didn’t pace myself and my lower back began to cramp a little.

During drill we worked on counters to a double leg takedown and a stack guard pass. During the stack guard pass, which requires you to pull on the pants or back of the person after you have already stacked them, I had to yell out tap because I could feel the pressure on my spine. It was not a good day for my back.

At the same time, I have got to become more flexible. I am still stiff as I write this a day later.  Last night when I walked into Publix from my car I looked like Fred Sanford. I can usually fake it when I’m sore and walking around in public. Yesterday, I couldn’t get it together.

I sat out the first two rounds of rolling and then rolled with Christine in the third round. We started from standing as she said she didn’t care where we began. I heard her say earlier that some of the guys were too strong so I made sure I took our height, weight and strength differential into account (I do it for everyone anyway). I baited her with exaggerated foot sweeps and when I tried to hook her leg from the inside she went for a single leg and then gave it up. Smiley shouted out asking her why she had let go.

So I baited her again and this time she committed and took me down.  Her defense is improving rapidly and it is hard to pin her down. She also tried the Superman tap on me when she had me in her butterfly guard. (For those who may be wondering the Superman tap is where you have someone in butterfly guard and use your legs to stretch out their legs while bear hugging their upper torso.) I heard someone say, “She’s trying to Superman him?” and others going “Oooooh!” But when I was fully extended she lost her grip on my back.

After rolling with Christine I rolled with a brand new guy. I just played the positional dominance game with him. I would get a position; hold it for a few seconds and then transition to another position. Once in mount I thought about knuckle choking him but felt that it was unnecessary so I just went through the mechanics of it and let go.  For a new person though he had real good instincts.

The last guy I rolled with was a guy named Terry. He had on an Ohio State University t-shirt and had a wrestler’s physique so I didn’t take him lightly. I saw him giving the other guys a hard time and tapping out some of the regulars so I knew even if he hadn’t wrestled he’s done BJJ before.  When I asked him if he wanted to roll, he didn’t say yes, he responded by saying, “You ready?”


We knelt down and before we began he said, “You got any injuries I need to watch out for?” This guy just oozed confidence.

I told him my knee and my back because of the drilling we had just conducted. When the buzzer went off he didn’t move. He just knelt on one knee and held his head down. I asked him was he ready because he looked like he was thinking about something else. He shook his head and just kept looking down.

I thought okay and then I ankle picked him and pulled his leg up so he landed on his back. He pulled full guard and I went through my litany of guard passes before I was finally able to break it by pinning his biceps down and standing up. When I was able to break the hold I knelt back down and tried to pass. He caught me in half guard and tried to take my back. I was able to stop him with a few timely whizzers. 

Eventually he was able to get to all fours and in our scramble I ended up on my back. I pulled full guard because I had seen him easily jump around other people’s guard earlier. When he did break it I was able to scissor sweep him off of me. He landed on all fours though and again we were in a scramble. It ended with me defending a pass attempt. 

Something else that happened during that sequence is that I was able to pass his guard once by using a butterfly guard pass I learned from watching a Mario Sperry You tube clip.

It was a good day!