Underhook butterfly guard secret?

I have been running into the same problem over and over when I use the butterfly guard with a single underhook against good grapplers: They grab my pants and try to run around my legs. I'm getting better at defending those types of passes but I have to let go of my underhook to do that.

I'm especially annoyed by him grabbing my pants on the same side as my underhook, because he can go over my underhook arm and grab my pants on that side without me being able to stop it.

But very recently I came up with the idea that perhaps if I took a pant grip with my non-underhooking arm, I would be able to stop the pass AND do the basic butterfly sweep AND get to my knees to tackle him down (this last move being perhaps the most important attack).

Do you guys find this to be true?

(To explain better: I have an underhook with my right arm, grabbing his belt. Then I grab my opponent's pants near his knee on his right leg with my left hand.)

Actually, I could also use my left butterfly hook to hook his right knee, but I'm going to experiment with using my left hand instead, because then I can have my left foot tucked and ready to get to my knees, I may have more control over his leg that way and I think I'd be more agressive that way. Can't wait to try it out... Sorry, thinking out loud again (hits head).

this works pretty good in my experience.

also don't forget to "play with their neck" (ala Roy Harris). When they grab your pants or your ankles, attack their neck with collar chokes and guillotines.

chickenfeet, I do that sometimes and it can work well, especially if you strip one of their grips off soon with an overhook on their wrist.

But my idea was to not have to give up on the underhook (by controlling the opposide side knee) - which hopefully works just as well, if not better against pant grabs.

Gripping the pants on the far side while maintaining your underhook is a good way to slow down that pass. Also, gripping the pants on the near side is an excellent way to continue your sweep if he beats your underhook or scoops under your leg. Terere sweeps like this all the time, and I've been working that into my game for a while with success.

Being able to switch your hips to the other side when they pass to your underhook side is important; tough to do when they are playing a really tight game, though. I often use an "X" foot position on their thigh to slow them down like this:


and this:




Could you site some footage where Terere does this particular sweep that can be viewed?

Thanks, Jeff. You rock well!

Hmm...Pan-Ams 2004 is sticking out in my head as one place I saw him do that. You know, I've never looked on youtube for any of his highlights or anything. Let me check that out in a little bit and get back to you.

So far the most stable butterfly positioning I've found:

BODY: hips back, head forward. Looking up. Sit on one hip (approach them at an angle).
LEGS: use the "X Foot" position JRockwell posted pictures of.
HANDS: one hand posted behind you for base.

The body positioning, plus the base hand, plus your legs putting some pressure into them and stretching out their base, makes it really hard for them to flatten you out. (Your base hand also makes it super easy to get to your knees, as well as keeping your hips mobile).

The X Foot position, which I call microguard in honor of a Chris Haueter drill, stops annoying pass attempts to the "wrong" side and also lets you switch into X-Guard if they stand up.

What I usually do is start by sitting on one hip with my butt back, then use my base hand to move into them at an angle so I can get both the butterfly and the "X" hooks in, and also start to pummel for an underhook with my free hand.

chickenfeet, good stuff. The only problem I've found with having one arm behind you is if your opponent grabs both your pants and starts running around your legs. I guess that your approach to such a thing would be to strip the grip with your non-underhooking arm and then attack immedially?

I also don't like it because I feel like it kind of breaks the "always have 3 points of contact" rule. But it probably depends on what your opponent is doing. If he's agressively grabbing your pants, it may not be smart to have that arm behind you, I think.

So I guess that it would be a good idea to use one of the following moves against pant grabbers, assuming that you want to deal with this as soon as possible and keep your underhook (I've already listed ways to deal with pant grabbers if you don't have an underhook or let go of it):

  • Have your non-underhook arm behind you as a base but if he grabs your pants on your leg whose knee is on the mat, use your arm that's behind you to strip his grip by overhooking his wrist and then attack right away.


  • Grab his right leg (his pants near his knee) with your left hand.


  • Follow the crook of his right knee with your left butterfly hook (I like this option the least).

I think it's good to know and use all these options, but to recognize when each one is most appropriate.

(It's a slow day at work...)

And knowing that long, FRAT posts usually end threads, thanks for the chat, guys :)

Hey you guys, if we just talk about your "go-to" underhook butterfly position, where is your non-underhook hand most of the time?

Grabbing the pants, his sleeve at the wrist, pummeling for double underhooks.

I usually start the butterfly guard with the underhook and grab his pants with my other hand. The moment I feel my opponent is grabbing my pants on the underhooked side I sweep him back and towards the underhooked side.

Otherwise I just start attacking by going to the normal butterfly sweep and then sitting up and sweeping towards my opponent.


Good stuff, Z. I'll try that.

I'm also running into the problem where the guy on top doesn't grab my pants on the underhook side but rather overhooks my leg on that side, threads his arm between my legs and grabs my other thigh. That's a common pass against the scissor sweep, if you're having trouble picturing this, but some guys are doing this against my butterfly guard and it kills my butterfly guard a bit.

To remedy this (and I'm probably testing this out today) I'm going to try to get the shoulder of my underhook arm under or very close to his shoulder, which hopefully makes it harder for him to thread his arm all the way, and if he insists on doing that, try sweeping him towards my underhook like Z said.

"I guess that your approach to such a thing would be to strip the grip with your non-underhooking arm and then attack immedially?"

jonpall my approach to such a thing is usually to get passed, lol.

also, have you tried just going with the flow and when he grabs your pants for an "around" type pass, go with his pressure and roll away to your knees, or to Saulo's "running escape" position?

"To remedy this (and I'm probably testing this out today) I'm going to try to get the shoulder of my underhook arm under or very close to his shoulder, which hopefully makes it harder for him to thread his arm all the way, and if he insists on doing that, try sweeping him towards my underhook like Z said. "

Well I did test this like I promised and it worked VERY well. Dare I say that I finally have a decent butterfly guard? I'm going to give it a few more training sessions before I say that :)

Jon: I didn't read the whole thread so excuse me if this has been covered
already but is it possible you are trying to hang out there too long?
Butterfly guard is like clinch. The positions you take are merely
opportunities. If you don't take advantage of them the positions will
dissolve. IMO you may need to just GO with a little bit more commitment
into whatever sweep, etc. you are trying for. If that sweep doesn't work
follow up with something else. If you are not attacking, he will be passing.
It's as simple as that.

That's true, Mike. Actually, most open guard positions are like that - you have to be able to flow between them.

However, it sure seemed to me that you could hang out for LONGER if you did what I wrote above, i.e. have the elbow of my underhook arm as high as I can to really lift his arm. It may also be more true for the butterfly version where you only have one butterfly hook in and are facing to the side a bit, as opposed to when you face the guy and have both hooks in, I dunno.