Attn: exjudoka

I just saw the two variations of the butterfly guard sweep on your website. They are awesome, but could you explain when you would do the second one as opposed to the first one?

I've seen some clips of Leo Santos and Shaolin, both excellent with the basic hook sweep, and they seem to always slide one leg under the hooking leg. I was just wondering why so? I always just thought it was so they could get to their knees quicker if need be, but with your second sweep I see they have other reasons.

Great website, thanks again.

Good question. I don't have a lot of time right now, but I'll take a quick stab at it.

The 45 degree variation of the butterfly guard sweep is easier to teach and easier to learn. It is also the most commonly taught variation. It allows you to sweep in a backwards direction if your opponent is putting pressure on you in that direction.

The sideways variation is a bit harder to learn/teach, but is probably faster and a bit more powerful for most people.

I think both are important because, when put together, they allow you to sweep your opponent in a greater variety of directions than just one variation by itself. With slight modifications you can use the butterfly sweep to sweep your opponent in directions anywhere from 2 o'clock to 7 o'clock (if he is originally sitting at 12 o'clock).

Stephan Kesting

Thanks as usual Stephan! I hit that sweep in training just tonight. I think I like the directly to the side variation, as it is more powerful/quick.

How comfortable are you with the butterfly guard now? I find this is my primary open guard position, as when I have a tight underhook, I can stop most passes. Even when my opponent stands and tries to run around. I can wait and hit the sweep when he comes back down (as long as I maintain the underhook).

Also, I find my initial butterfly position is already with just one hook and the other leg/shin underneath my hooking leg. I don't really even bother with the normal 'both hooks in' set up. I sit directly into that position. Again, thanks for your input. When is that video coming out?


I decided 2 or 3 years ago that I wanted to get good at the butterfly guard and the half guard. This meant that I worked on these two positions a LOT, even to the exclusion of other parts of my game.

At first it was a horrorshow - I was a purple belt at the time and I was having a hard time with white belts and blue belts kept on passing my guard. This was hard on the old ego, but I am glad I kept at it.

In the process I did a lot of research: asked everyone I knew about their insights, watched a lot of matches, went to seminars, etc. Slowly my game improved and I started getting insights and understandings that would help my game a lot.

Re: keeping one foot under the other - this is good for sweeping, BUT can leave you vulnerable to some guard passes where your opponent grabs your foot. Go ahead and do it, but be very aware of where your opponent's hands are, and if he starts to go for your foot move it back to the 'normal' double hooks butterfly guard position immediately.

Re: the guard sweeps video. We have done most of the filming and I have started to edit it now. Editing always takes longer than you think it is going to (especially if you've never done any editing at all!). This could take a month or two - It should be out by March, hopefully.

Good questions!

Stephan Kesting