Tuesday, April 10, 2018

John Will Seminar 7 April 2018 - Butterfly Guard



The seminar was held at George Adams' gym at West Pennant Hills.

Butterfly is a better option for self defence than closed guard due to your ability to control distance and turn them over.

Warm Up - Rocking Chair


Our partner is on his knees. We have two hooks in facing him, lying on our backs. We sit up and get double underhooks in him, rolling back and elevate him using our hooks.

We should align out hands in the underhooks as if using both thumbs to point behind us over our shoulders. The common option of grabbing his back with the palms of our hands is not nearly as strong a motion.

Put him back down, disengage the arms, lie back down, sit up and get double overhooks, and elevate him again. Repeat with one over one under, then one over one under on the opposite sides.

Repeat the double underhook / double overhook / one over one under / one over one under opposite side as long as desired. Then give your partner a turn.

Basic Butterfly Sweep


We are in his butterfly guard. Sit up and post behind you with your L arm moving your hips out the the R, allowing you to get a deep grip on his belt under his L arm with your R hand. Try and touch his L knee with your butt. Clinch down hard with your R hand and arm. This attachment to him is the most fundamental principle of the butterfly guard sweep.

Next we want to control his L arm by grabbing his R elbow with our L hand and pinching his R wrist under our L armpit. Elevate him with our hooks, keeping the arm controls, and sweep him to our L by taking our R foot, and his L leg, overhead to the R (about 10:30 on the clock) while kicking toward 6 on the clock with our R foot, causing his R leg and hip to straighten, taking away hs base and spinning him to our L.

We do NOT go to mount. He has an overhook and could keep us rolling to our L so we end up on bottom again. Going to mount can also give him an opportunity to catch you in half guard.

Instead, put your R knee to the mat between your bodies and go to side control on his R. Your R ear should be pushing against his L arm so as to keep it between your head and your R underhook. As early as you can, bring your L elbow to the L side of his head so both your arms are underhooking his L arm. Keep pressure with your ear on his arm so you have the "radar" ready for the next technique.

If you do not get the L arm over his head like this, he can bring his L arm up in front of your face and from a frame with his L elbow on the L side of your head.

If you do get the L arm over and trap his L arm with both your own, and attempt to bring his arm in front of your face will expose it to a fairly easy Americana, demonstrated in the video below by Renzo Gracie, using his "answering the phone" technique. (I was first shown this by John around fifteen years ago).


Renzo Gracie demonstrates "answering the phone" to get the Americana from side control

Setting up the arm and head control during the sweep is an example of planning ahead. Think beyond the sweep to high percentage follow up techniques.

Zero to One - How to get to Butterfly Guard


Many coaches can teach a multitude of sweeps from a particular guard, but may not teach ways to achieve that guard in the first place. If they cannot reach that guard successfully in rolling, then the sweeps become pretty much useless to them.

The "Zero to One" concept is the idea of taking that first step towards a goal from nothing. Getting from destitution and sleeping on cardboard boxes to renting a one room apartment. This is often the most difficult step. Jordan Peterson also talks a fair bit about the difficulty of getting off zero.

So - getting from zero - to butterfly guard.

He is kneeling in front of you. You are sitting on the mat, posting on your L arm. Your L arm  is the engine which allows you to close with him, and chase him if he starts backing away. It also forms part of your base.

You want to grab his L collar with your R hand. This then restricts his movement in two directions. forward and backward. You can pull him in or stiff arm him away with the collar grip.

Your inside foot, the L in this case, points between his knees. As he moves, you shift position using your L hand to keep your inside foot aimed between his legs.

Now, pull half guard on your L side. Get a knee shield pinching low on his hip with your R knee. Cross your feet, not your ankles. The knee shield is vital to stop him smashing you down flat.

You have now restricted his movement in four directions, from back, left and right. Come up on your L elbow or hand and get the underhook and belt grip with your R hand. Move your hips back slightly and get your R hook in as well. Come up on your L hand, grab his R elbow and wrist and sweep him to your L with a basic butterfly sweep, as before.

Cross sleeve, belt grab, dive under, one in three out, sweep.

Cross sleeve Butterfly Sweep


You have your two hooks in and get both hands on his R sleeve. Pull hard on the sleeve  and sit up, pulling his R arm across your body to the R, reaching around his R arm with your L to grab his belt. Come up on your R hand and pressure his R arm, and cinch tight with your L arm on his belt, to stop him getting it back out. Same principles of attachment as before.

On other media, John had suggested thinking of the movement to get his arm across as if you are pulling on his arm in an attempt to stand up. This engages your lower body in the pulling action as well, increasing its power.

Coming up on the R hand, cinching with the L and pressing in with your torso is more effective in trapping his R arm than attempting to keep hold of the sleeve with the R hand.

You want to underhook his L arm with your R, and end up underneath him with his head to the L of yours before sweeping. Take you R post away and attempt to drop beneath him, as far out to your R under him as possible. It will probably not be enough, and you may need to escape your hips out to your R, perhaps three times. The more you move you hips R, the easier the sweep will become. You need to get his head to the L side of yours. Now use your hooks as for the basic butterfly sweep to sweep him to your L. The same provisos apply to your R underhook in his L arm as they did for the basic butterfly sweep.

Front Belt Grab Sweep


You have butterfly guard. Sit up and grab his belt in front of him with your L hand. Use this grip to grab the belt with your R hand using an underhand grip, palm up. You can let go with the L once you have got the R grip.

Elevate him using the R hand grip as attachment, and sweep him to your L. Block his R elbow with your L hand to prevent him posting and stopping the sweep. The relative lack of close attachment here probably means you will need to scramble after the sweep. The objective of scrambling is to get on top and prevent him going to his knees.

The "Helio" or Pirate Grip


From closed guard. Grab his R sleeve with both hands,. Retaining the sleeve grip with your R hand, reach under his R arm with your L and grab his L collar. Flare your L elbow out somewhat so your L elbow is above his R elbow. This is the "Helio" grip - though in an earlier seminar I attended John referred to it as the Pirate Grip. This is a strong attachment.

Hip out and get your feet on his hips, then move your feet to butterfly guard and sit up. If he starts backing away, he will help pull you up into the sitting position.

Rock back. elevate him and sweep him to your L. Keep the grips and use his momentum to "hitch hike" to the top position. Many options from here.

The benefit of this position is its effectiveness, combined with its relative obscurity. Most people will not have seen it and thus not had time to develop counters to it. There are no instructional videos (yet). It is worth considering and seeking out other controls, positions, or techniques with similar profiles.

Drop Throw


The Helio/Pirate grip can be extremely useful from standing.

He grabs your L collar with his R hand. Get two hands on his R sleeve and break the grip by pushing the sleeve away while pulling the chest back. Keep your R hand grip on the sleeve and reach under his R arm to grab his L collar. As he squares up, flare your L elbow up and out the the L.

Kick your R leg between you and sit/lie down with your butt more or less on his feet and pull him into kneeride. The grips will prevent him stabilising and it is easy to roll him over you to the L and onto his back. Keep the grips and hitch hike up to the top position. If you get to your feet his R arm is right there for an armbar attack.

John called this a Drop Throw.

The video below shows the setup for the Helio grip from closed guard, moving to butterfly guard and sweeping, the standing Helio grip and Drop Throw, and a variation of the Drop Throw ending in an ashi garami control with an inside heel hook attack.




John and Simon Farnsworth demonstrating some options using the Helio/Pirate grip

You can use entries normally used to obtain the Russian tie / 2 on 1 and vary the control by using the Helio/Pirate collar grip.

Roll under him and Sweep from Helio Grip


You have Butterfly Guard with the Helio / Pirate grip. He is backing away, which may may the butterfly sweep more difficult. Instead, flare your L elbow up, swing your feet to the L and behind you and roll under him to your R, pulling him over top of you and onto his back. Keep the grips and come on top.

Alternative Helio Grip Setup


From closed guard, get a deep grip in his L collar with your L hand as if setting up for a cross collar choke. Roll slightly to your L and get your L elbow on the floor. Try to complete the choke with your R hand. If you can, you win. If he tries to block with his R hand grab that sleeve with yours. You can now square up with the Helio Grip and move on to butterfly guard. Taking your L elbow to the floor makes it hard for the guy to put his R arm under yours, or do much else other than present the grip you want.

John made the observation here that sometimes toying with the order in which you set up controls  or execute techniques can sometimes lead to significant or interesting improvements. Here we went collar then sleeve, instead of sleeve, then collar.

I attended a seminar at Universal Combat Academy last year where John explored the uses of the Helio / Pirate grip in considerably more detail.

Reps and Industriousness


John encouraged us to find ways to get in more reps during class and training. He would set things up where the person or team doing the least number of reps of a technique would have to do a small favour for those doing the most, and similar. While rushing to the point where execution deteriorates, and looking for ways to game such systems due to perverse incentives, would not be productive, there is certainly value in developing a habit of trying to increase the number of reps you perform of techniques or drills in class.

Industrious people tend to get further in Jiu Jitsu and life. Find ways to get more done in the time you have. You may even both accomplish more and have more free time if you pursue this avidly.

Self Defence - in a Broader Sense


John also reminded us that self defence involves more than just protecting against physical assaults. We need to learn to protect ourselves emotionally, financially, health wise, etc. He tries to make his classes about making students aware of the wider aspects of self defense and offering some strategies in those areas.


John's autobiography. Three volumes. Ripping yarns and great advice.


John Will's seminar schedule. Get on board with one of the best Jiu Jitsu coaches on the planet.