Here are some other guards that might make you a little trickier off of your back:
Butterfly transitions nicely to X-guard if they stand up.
If you remember Demain Maia doing a technical standup on the beast Gabriel Gonzaga, you can see how it a smaller guy can leverage against a bigger guy’s base and control which leg he has weight on.
The ankle sweep is a super-easy transition against a standing opponent, but establishing X-guard against a kneeling opponent feels a lot more like a deep half situation, controlling each leg under their base looking to upset the balance by spreading their legs.
Robson, Marcello, and Royler and Renzo all used the butterfly guard in jiujitsu and what’s less obvious is its ability to create space in MMA (against smothering wrestlers) or to upset their balance from the downed guard as they punch to pass.
Butterfly guard is seriously under-rated. It’s easy to get from under side control and in scrambles. And it’s really easy to sweep.
It’s a great position to teach beginners because your legs are both doing the same thing and you can work double underhooks or double inside ties and teach them about rocking and taking the balance without confusing them with several grips they’ll never retain.
Learning to play hooks makes it easy to start using a single hook (butterfly half, elevator sweep) and it’s fairly intuitive to lift someone up and over instead of trying to remove one leg from the other or push-pull sweeps that require a greater understanding of physics and biomechanics.
Made famous by Cyborg Abreu, besides setting up inverts to the Tornado, the Knee-shield has become popular in both MMA and jiujitsu as a means to create space and keep opponents at a distance and off of your neck.
There has been a rise in Z-guard techniques in the past few years, people using the space to shoot deep-half, inverting to roll under to the back and getting leverage to cause the opponent to fall into triangles.
I personally like taking the back from here and failing that diving to deep half and working for the back from there, so if you’re a little guy that likes backpacking: get onto it.
Keep them off your neck and sneak your way around to theirs.
Michael is a “certified badass” with a heart of gold. Passionate about making people feel safe and educating them to be confident. In his youth -a little troubled- Michael often got into fights with the bullies in his school. After identifying with this, he began a lifelong pursuit of the martial arts and in educating others how to protect themselves and use "fighting without fighting" to deter aggressors from choosing them as victims. Michael specializes in leverage for little people, grappling for control and self defense, footwork to generate more power and head movement/evasive technique for counter fighting.
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