We've been doing a lot of butterfly guard in class lately, and it got me thinking.
There are a lot of guard systems these days, with new ones cropping up all the time (isn't Worm Guard like three months old now?). There are so many, in fact, that it's impossible to devote yourself to all of them. That puts us in a position of picking and choosing.
I heard someone once say that you don't really choose your jiu-jitsu game; it chooses you. I think that makes sense. Given your physical attributes and personality, you will naturally fall into guard patterns that fit.
However, I'm beginning to feel that everyone needs some butterfly guard.
Warning: my rationale is jiu-jitsu specific. In other words, this logic applies to day-to-day rolling in the academy, not so much to MMA or self-defense. If you're in a school that starts rolling from the feet, this may not apply.
"I don't know where to start," said a white belt in class a few weeks ago. "Once we get going I'm fine, but I have no idea where to begin."
He was talking about starting a roll, starting from the knees. Should you stand up? Should you sit first? Should you wrestle from the knees for top position?
Here's my take (and this is only my current opinion):
I prefer to be reactive at the start of a roll. If I sense he wants top, I sit. If he sits, I stand and immediately start trying to pass. Whatever you need to work on most, you'll find yourself there eventually.
If you subscribe to this mindset, you'll find yourself sitting about half the time. In other words, butterfly guard where you haven't gripped up yet. You can't just materialize into closed guard, or X, or 93, or whatever. You have to start somewhere, and if you start from the bottom, it's probably like this.
How to start:
1) Ask your instructor first. A) he might disagree with me, but also B) his input will be better than any DVDs or random youtube search.
2) Just try it. You'll get passed a lot at first, but there's a shortcut: drill it with someone. If they pass, restart. If you sweep, restart. Simply rolling and hoping you grasp it is the long way. Get specific.
3) If you're really interested, get an instruction system. Notice the word "system" - by this, I mean DVD or book or app or something. It's better than random, disconnected youtube surfing which results in major jiu-jitsu ADD. If you go this route, there's probably no better source than Marcelo Garcia.
4) Youtube LAST. Seriously. Especially if you're a white belt. You will harm your longterm growth by dabbling.
Anyway, just my two cents. Feel free to disagree. I'll be butterflying for the near future.
Charlie From The Plaza
For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes in the Norwich, Connecticut area, check out Macarra BJJ Norwich.