Underhook gets overhooked, butterf

Do you guys have any tips for getting a very solid, deep underhook from your butterfly guard? Some of the guys in my gym are good at preventing me from getting a good underhook on them. Sometimes I get a shallow underhook on them but then they usually overhook my underhook very hard and even control my leg on the same side with their arm. The leads to the problem that I never get in a good enough position to sweep them from and they are in a prime position to pass my guard. Anyone?

Here's a detail someone showed me that made a big difference: keep your forehead under their chin on the same side as your underhook until you are ready to sweep. When you want to sweep, drive your forehead underneath his chin to the other side of his head (not backing out and then over) to maintain dominant head position. This will take away a lot of his ability to control you.

Also, when he gets an overhook and starts to control your leg on the same side, be mentally flexible in the side you play to. I am very strong sweeping to my right from BF guard, but not as much to my left. If he overhooks and starts going to my left, even though it's not my preferred side, I have to be able to switch my hips hard and immediately threaten a sweep to the left. Even if it isn't as powerful, even if it doesn't take him over, it will force him to rebalance, re-adjust, and then I will continue attacking with a follow-up technique.

I also might think about switching to a reverse half-guard on his left leg as long as he hasn't flattened me out too much. Just a thought.

BTW, you've got mail.

Thanks for the answer and the mail, Jeff!! :)

Here's a trick I saw on a JJ Machado instructional, and find very useful. You probably have seen it before but it relates to the situation for when you have an overhook but no underhook in butterfly guard.

On the side of your overhook, you keep only that butterfly hook in and try to base up into them and drive into them and keep circling until they finally fall over and let you get mount. With the gi on you first handed off the opposite lapel to your overhooking hand and then control the sleeve of their other arm with your free hand. In no-gi you can try to hand off their free wrist to your overhooking hand or just drive up.

It seems more effective as a sweep in it's own right in gi, but even in no-gi, it will force them to post their free hand on the mat to prevent themselves from being pushed over. That leaves them open for the follow up attack: take advantage of their weighted arm being on the mat and dive into a nice deep underhook on that side, putting your other butterfly hook back in as you go and use the momentum and misdirection to get the sweep.

FreestyleJJ: I know of that sweep and I probably should work on it some more. It could be just what I need to add to my guard game. However, if you do that stuff badly timed (because you haven't practised it enough), you usually end up in a pretty bad stop, i.e. with you flattened and him having double underhooks in your butterfly guard.

Interestingly enough, on his submission grappling tapes, when Mario Sperry teaches the butterfly guard, he only shows moves from double underhooks and a single overhook. He doesn't show any moves from a single underhook, or the over/under position.

And come to think of it, I feel very strong with double underhooks. I also feel very strong with a single overhook IF I can get my hip out to the side.

double overhooks are also something I've been playing with more after watching jacare use them in ADCC 05.

How do you use a single or a double overhook from your butterfly guard without ending up flat on your back and stuck there?

Get your hips out to the side to avoid getting crushed flat. One of my setups for the butterfly sweep is to overhook, and use my other hand to feed his opposite hand to the overhooking hand. You can't hold it for long, but you can sweep instantly when you get this grip, as you're tying up both his hands with one of yours. This usually only works on noobs, but, better guys will also yank their non-overhooked hand back HARD to get it loose, and then you can go for the triangle.

Double overhooks are the way to go, imo. It's the way I've been taught for years, and my instructor sweeps EVERYONE this way, it's incredible.

You can keep guys from flattening you by keeping your knee inside against their chest. They must clear your knee to start flatten you, if they drive their chest into your knee, you can easily hit the sweep.

Another nice thing about double overhooks is that you can switch directions of the sweep very easily. If you get stuck trying to roll the guy one way, switch your hips, put your head to the other side, and sweep in the other direction. Works really well for me.

Simple answer... go for the underhook, if they snatch the overhook, arm drag them... HARD- you'll either get their back, and armbar, or at least they'll think hard about trying to OH you again...

Kontrol: I don't understand your post. Could you please clarify? For example, if I'm underhooking his left arm with my right arm, which arm of his am I arm-dragging? Is that with my right hand or my left hand?


Maybe he meant arm drag off the overhook, when they pull the arm out? That is a good move if you can get the timing.

Sorry, I'm still not getting it. Could someone please clarify in detail? I don't understand how you're arm dragging someone if they have an overhook.


ok. Lemme try to rephrase this...

You go for an underhook with your right arm, his left side, but it's not too deep- They in turn try to overhook you deep, so with your left hand, get an elbow/bicep grip with your left hand on their right arm that is overhooking AS YOU PUMMEL YOUR RIGHT ARM OUT. Use your right arm to secure the arm-drag... Then you're open to take the back, arm bar, etc =)

Timing does play a part of this, but i use a shallow underhook to bait this exact thing...

Sorry for being so dense, Kontrol, but it still doesn't make sense to me.

I underhook his left side with my right arm, but not too deep. So far so good. Then you say his RIGHT arm is overhooking? Why would his right arm overhook? If my right arm is underhooking his left side, he should be overhooking my right arm with his left arm, shouldn't he?


I used to have trouble playing the butterfly with an overhook. However, a recent Shaolin seminar and some discussion with my coach, Tinguinha, has totally changed my perspective on the position. This is important, because Butterfly is my bread and butter, and it's really nice to have a game now, should I fail to get the underhook.

The first thing is, your opponent's balance is vulnerable while he is flattening you, and this is when you should attempt the sweep. Since he will be trying to flatten you to the opposite side of your overhook, just begin the hook/elevator/basic butterfly sweep as soon as he drives his weight into you. Even if you don't complete the sweep, you'll probably be able to maintain a fairly safe, sitting butterfly guard. If your opponent posts his hand out while you attempt the sweep, go to the triangle. If your opponent posts his leg out, go to the X-guard.

Things I've found helpful if your opponent does manahe to flatten you a bit: go to your side, if possible, rather than your back. Use your butterfly hooks to check his balance, and be really aggressive about shooting triangles. Also, if you can get to your side, whatever leg is on the bottom, put that on your opponent's hip, rather than letting it dangle between his legs; this may allow you to sit back up, if you can push his weight off of you.

Hope this helps. I haven't posted here in ages, but I'm getting over a fricking awful cold/maybe bronchitis, and I haven't trained in over two weeks, so for now, I have to live jiu-jitsu vicariously through other people. Sucks balls.


Good catch Lau, i re-read that like 100 times....

I did mean his left overhooks... not the right...

Thanks, Kontrol, I get it now :).