The Spider Guard is one of the most popular and effective guards in all of Jiu Jitsu. It has helped revolutionize the guard in BJJ and continues to evolve to this day.
The Spider Guard is a type of open guard where you grip your opponent sleeves and keep them at a distance by usually placing your foot on their bicep. This guard is great for keeping yourself at a distance and at the same time keeping your opponents off balance.
In this guide, we take a look at one of our personal favorites – the spider guard. Keep on reading as we breakdown everything you need to know about the spider guard – from its origins and how to use it to setup sweeps and submissions.
Origins Of The Spider Guard
Grand Master Hélio Gracie was said to be the one who has revolutionized to usage of the open guard. Doing so laid the foundation for Spider Guard as we know it today. Although, there are photos from the 40s of Spider Guard clearly being used in Kosen Judo. But the Spider Guard as we know it was honed in BJJ.
Hélio was known for teaching and using an open guard that clearly inspired creating the Spider Guard. One foot on the bicep and another on the hip to defend strikes and sweep opponents.
No one person has been given credit for creating the Spider Guard - but it has really started to be developed sometime in the 80’s. In Portuguese, the name for Spider Guard is “Guarda Aranha.”
Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes claims he saw Renzo Gracie playing with the position at a Gracie Barra school in ‘87. Although Renzo really isn’t credited with creating the guard.
One BJJ practitioner that is credited for making many developments in the position is Mauricio ‘Tinguinha’ Mariano. He thought that the Spider Guard was the best guard smaller guard players can use against bigger opponents. Some other BJJ players of the time disagreed and thought Spider Guard was a stalling position.
“At the start of the Spider Guard Was used mostly as a defensive position, and many critiqued it. Labeling it ‘the stalling guard.’ But the more I used it, there was a need to improve it to win fights. Using it for sweeps and later submissions.”- Tinguinha .
Over time, more and more BJJ players started playing with the guard and it has really evolved into a fantastic guard system. Many top competitors like Leandro Lo, Romulo Barra, JT Torres, and Ricardo Viera are known for using Spider Guard.
Today, the Spider Guard BJJ has become a super important guard to play. It’s easily one of the positions you should add to your arsenal if you hope to advance your techniques.
How To Do The Spider Guard
The basic Spider guard BJJ is where you take sleeve grips and place your feet on the opponent’s biceps. From here you use your feet and grips to control your opponent.
Pushing and pulling the opponent to put them in position to set up sweeps and submissions. As you advance and have a grasp on the guard, you can start tweaking it. You can later start switching it up by putting one foot on the opponent’s hip or knee.
Techniques From Spider Guard
There are a wide variety of different sweeps and submissions you can do from the Spider Guard. Look below at the details of some of the most basic ones.
Basic Spider Guard Sweep #1
You start this sweep from open guard with your feet on the opponent’s hips and take sleeve grips. Place one foot on their bicep for control and use it to bring them forward. As you bring them forward take your other foot off their hip and put it next to their knee.
The opponent will go right over for the sweep similar to a scissor sweep and you end up in mount. Very simple and very effective.
Basic Spider Guard Sweep #2
This second sweep goes together with the first sweep if the opponent defends the initial attempt. When you go for the sweep, the opponent defends it by basing with their foot.
If they do this take your foot off their bicep and hook it around their arm and under their base leg. Bring your head next to theirs by turning, pull their arm, and kick up to take them over.
The hooking is more of a Lasso Guard, but it evolved from traditional Spider Guard. Check out Chewjitsu breaking down these two basic sweeps below and explain how they’re chained together.
Spider Guard Sweeps By Erin Herle
In a video from fightTIPS, competitive black belt Erin Herle shows some of her favorite basic Spider Guard Sweeps.
Spider Guard To Armbar
Ricardo Calvacanti has a great setup for Spider Guard to armbar. From traditional Spider Guard with feet on the biceps.
To defend an opponent will grip the pants and when they do stretch their arm out and kick off the grip. After you break their grip put their arm across your body and throw your legs up for the armbar.
Watch the video below for more details, as well as a triangle setup.
Spider Guard To Triangle
To set up a triangle from basic Spider Guard BJJ with feet on the biceps is pretty simple. First kick off a bicep grip and push down on their back to break their posture.
The next step is to take your foot off the other bicep and put it around their neck. For the finish cut an angle, pull your shin down, and lock in your triangle.
There are numerous other techniques to show, but these are some of the most basic ones. New techniques from Spider Guard are always being developed, so there’s always something you can learn from the guard.
Since the Spider Guard BJJ was developed there have been quite a few revolutions with the guard. Now people play advanced variations of the guard mixing Lasso, Lapel, and De La Riva Guard with it. Spider Guard has really created a ton of techniques and combinations that can really open up your game.
If you want to boost your guard game up, learning some of the basic attacks and setups from the Spider Guard can really improve your BJJ level to another level!