Butterfly Guard: What is it and the Best Moves

There are many styles in the game of BJJ. Some guys and girls like to use the traditional BJJ positions, such as the full-guard, the side-control, and the mount. There are other people that love to use non-traditional moves and positions, like the rubber guard and the worm-guard. The Butterfly guard is somewhere in-between traditional and the modern. It’s still a very popular option among many BJJ practitioners.

The butterfly guard is a very powerful guard that you can implement in your game. It’s needless to say that you will have to do a lot of practice to make it work for you though. But if you find that you’re drawn towards this guard – then you would do well to practice and get good at it. So, if you wish to learn how you can use this guard to your benefit – read on. You can learn this guard by using DVDs or digital instructionals.

Butterfly Guard Basics

In order to enter the position of this guard – you will have to do a simple thing. All you will need to do is to place your feet between your crouching opponent’s legs. And there you have it – this is the butterfly guard. From here you can try a variety of sweeps and submissions.


This position is especially productive in giving you a few methods that you can use to sweep your opponent. The easiest Butterfly Guard sweep that you can try out is by grabbing your opponent’s torso with both of your arms. You need to have underhooks for this to work. Then you pull down your opponent on top of you and you use one of your legs to push his opposite leg into the air. If you do this properly, then you may end up in mount. In the worst case, you will sweep your opponent and enter top full-guard.

Arm-drag to back control

This move is exactly what it says it is. You will need to drag your opponent’s arm and take his back with it. It’s done very effectively when you start from the butterfly guard. With one of your arms, you need to grab your opponent’s opposite triceps muscle. Drag it and your opponent will lose balance. At the same time, you need to scoot your butt to the outer side and this will give you the perfect chance to take your opponent’s back. This is a very effective move – however, you need to be very explosive and precise in order to make it work.

Butterfly Guard Submissions

Armbar from the Butterfly Guard

Arm bar from Butterfly guard is a great technique to add to your arsenal. To execute this submission you need too:

  1. Use your underhook to help elevate your opponent’s arm
  2. With Gable grip connected slightly above elbow control your opponent
  3.  Finish the armbar

If your opponent on the second step tries to pull his arm by extending it, just proceed with the techniques because we want his arm to be extended. More information in the video below.

Triangle Choke from the Butterfly Guard

Another great submission that we can utilize from the butterfly is a triangle choke. The best moment to do this move is after a failed sweep. In moment opponent uses his hands to post in order to prevent a sweep.

  1. Use your arm to grab the wrist that your opponent is using for balancing
  2. bring your leg, from the overhooked arm side, around  your opponent’s back
  3. Bring your other leg knee to your chest and around your opponent’s based arm
  4. Adjust your legs and your body to get the full triangle choke

Butterfly guard to the guillotine choke

You can try another sweep from the butterfly guard. Grab your opponent’s neck with one arm and use your other arm to grab your opponent’s opposite triceps muscle. Then push with your first arm and pull with your second arm and use your leg to topple your opponent. Your opponent may find his balance and stop the sweep from here – but he will still be in an unfavorable position. Use your arm to put a guillotine choke and choke him out.

Butterfly guard and reaping

If all of the sudden your opponent decides to stand up while you have both of your hooks in for the butterfly guard – then you may try the reaping sweep. Of course, you need to be aware that this is a potentially dangerous move to perform and it’s banned in many BJJ organizations around the world for tournaments at certain belt levels. This is because of the fact that it places the knee in an unstable position. However, if you wish to do this move – you can use one of your legs to instantly reap your opponent’s knee. He will lose balance and fall. From here you will be able to perform a powerful heel hook – yet another move that’s banned in many organizations.

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