Taming the Butterfly

The Butterfly or 'hooks' guard is a very powerful upgrade to the basic guard game. One of the great things about this type of guard is that it really develops guard 'aliveness'; it is anything but static, and once you get going, you become totally hooked on it - (that's my best attempt at humour!)
The butterfly guard forces you to develop a greater awareness of your legs and feet - much more so than the basic closed guard. It can also be a more aggressive style of guard, in that you can really mess with your opponents balance in a lot of different ways and from a variety of angles. It is also easy to switch from the butterfly guard to various other types of guard - so there are many Exit/plan B options to take if things begin to unravel.
Here are a few tips to help develop a workable butterfly guard:

- First, develop 'sticky' hooks. This is about relaxing your leg and allowing it to bend and flex and follow the opponents 'hooked' leg. As in fishing, we need to allow the rod to bend and allow the fish to run if we are to successfully bring it to the net. Do not be stiff and overly strong - utilize the elasticity in our joints to 'stick' our hooks.

- Control the opponents arms at all times; with overhooks, underhooks or combinations of both. most of the time, the opponent disengages from our hooks by using his hands - DO NOT allow his hands to go anywhere near your legs. Control them as much as possible.

- If you are having trouble sweeping the opponent, try floating him (elevating him) first. If you 'get the elephant into space, a four year old could spin him by his tail (sorry elephant). Getting the opponent up in the air before teetering him over, can be a big help in the first year or two of developing this style of guard.

- If we are trying to sweep the opponent to the left, try moving our hip slightly to the right first; even shift a little onto our left buttock as we do so This will give us more power in the rotation of our hips during the sweep. Don't always sweep from a neutral position.

- Persist, persist, persist. One good thing about hook sweeps is that we can drive THROUGH with them. Keep lifting!

- Sweep to the diagonal corners behind us; not to the sides. This is the first mistake that newbies make. The opponent can usually post out to either side pretty easily with their feet, even if their arms are being controlled. To take them over to the corners, behind our head. Big secret!

- Against much heavier opponents, try using your actual knee-joint (placed in their abdomen) to hoist them up into the air - as opposed to your 'hook'. This puts the opponent on your 'structure' as opposed to your 'musculature'.

- Attachment is key: make sure you have 'attached' yourself strongly to your opponent, that way, where you go, he goes! This is very important.

- If he backs away, be prepared to follow him. If he stands up - come up and attack his legs; never allow him to 'separate' from you.

- Use one of your 'hooks' to push at his leg, whilst the other hooks pulls and lifts. This pushing action will 'collapse' him one one side a little bit, and also help prevent him from posting out on that leg. BIG SECRET! Pay attention to this!

Well - that will do it for now. My WIFI connection is coming to a close - gotta run. I hope this helps develop your hooking game.
Hook well - lift Hard!

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