Butterfly Guard Posture
The topic for the week was seated upright guard. I decided to focus on butterfly guard position because it’s so common a position and it’s very versatile. When thinking about how to teach it I had some general ideas to start with. I wanted to teach it as a posture/pressure game. I didn’t want to teach it as a series of high percentage moves. I wanted to build a base of posture where students could first survive comfortably without being passed.
Teaching survival first in an offensive position seems counter intuitive at first, but when you look at it deeper you can see the logic in it. As an older guy I’m constantly trying to find a BJJ game that will continue to work for me as I age. I don’t move as fast as I once did and have a hard time keeping up with guys who are 20 years younger than me. One of the things that I do to make it easier is to build an offensive game that isn’t so dependent on speed, timing, or athleticism. In the guard this means being able to survive there as you find your sub or sweep. This is true of butterfly guard as well. I wanted to build a butterfly game where I could hang out and attack when I was ready. Not a butterfly game built on having to constantly attack out of fear of losing position.
Posture Advantage vs. Deficit
The idea is to work on building a posture advantage and putting your partner in a posture deficit. That way you are working a couple of steps ahead when you go for your sub or sweep. The best way to beat a bigger or better guy is to work from a position of superior posture. So, building a good butterfly game is about working on posture and not sweeps or subs. It’s about maintaining or re-establishing good posture when you don’t have it. Prioritizing posture over techniques. This will bear sweeter fruit in the long run because it’s much easier to attack from a position of superior posture.
A Look at the Posture
Your A posture is your best possible posture. It’s the posture you are always trying to achieve and where you want to launch all your attacks. It looks like this:
- Seated upright. Back has a nice C curve. Hips back and shoulders forward.
- Legs at a 90 degree angle. Be sure your feet aren’t too close to your rear. This makes your legs weak. Also, make sure your legs aren’t too straight. This also makes them weak.
- Put your head in the pocket. This is from clinch game. Your head should be below his pressing into his collarbone. Don’t let your head leave his chest.
- You need some sort of attachment. You can use and underhook (my preference), an overhook, or an arm drag.
- This gives you one free arm to use to base, attack, or move your hips.
- To begin the attack from A posture shift your weight to one hip and slide towards the side of the attachment. (To the left on the pic below.)
B posture is not as good as A posture. It’s important to recognize when you are in B posture and work to put yourself back in A posture. You can successfully attack from B posture but you are allowing your partner to make up some of the posture deficit. B posture is the same as A posture but without the head in the pocket.
C posture is to be avoided at all costs. Some people like to play from here but you are allowing the top guy to play from a much better posture. He’s made up most of the posture deficit and can pass easier. You are flat on your back and no longer have a ball shape to your posture. You are mostly defensive here and have to wait for the top guy to move to make anything happen.
Your best bet if you find yourself here is to work to get back to A posture. Trying to sweep or sub here would depend on you having better BJJ than the other guy. I’d rather put myself in a posture advantage and work from that.