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Ultimate Spider Guard Guide

Updated on January 14, 2011

Are you working on your Spider Guard?

When playing guard in jiu jitsu you have two options; closed guard or open guard. Closed guard is one of the first things you learn when practicing jiu jitsu, and then as you progress you start to add open guard to your game. There is a variety of open guard methods, with spider guard being one of the most popular out there.

Here you will find a wealth of information on spider guard, including sweeps, submissions and how to pass someone's spider guard. You will learn what type of opponent spider guard works best against, and what details of spider guard are the most important to remember.

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What is Spider Guard?

basic points of spider guard

Spider guard is a type of open guard where you control your opponent's arms by grabbing both sleeves and then placing your feet on their biceps. You have a lot of control over your opponent from this position and can easily throw them off balance and sweep them.

Jiu jitsu is a very fluid art, and there are many variations to spider guard like many of the other jiu jitsu techniques. The image pictured to the right is an example of traditional spider guard with both feet on the biceps.

Image Credit
Image Credit

Spider Guard Variations

just remember the basics of the move..

There are several variations to spider guard, including the one pictured to the right. In this example he has wrapped his leg around one of the opponent's arms for even more control. The important part to remember when trying spider guard variations is that you need to control the wrists and use at least one leg to keep distance between you and your opponent. You are essentially stretching your opponent out when using spider guard.

Another common variation is to take one foot of a bicep and put it on the opponent's hip or wrap one of their legs.

Tinguinha's Spider Guard DVD Ultimate Open Guard Series - This DVD is a great addition to your jiu jitsu library

This DVD does not go into many advanced techniqes with spider guard, however, if you are a beginner than this would be a good choice to help improve your spider guard game.

It includes four parts:

Part 1 - The Spider Guard controls and basic sweeps

Part 2 - Submissions and advanced sweeps from the Spider Guard

Part 3 - Passing the Spider Guard

Part 4 - Countering the Spider Guard Pass *Extra feature

Sweeps from Spider Guard - sweep and then submit your opponent with spider guard

In spider guard, you are controlling your opponent's wrists and their hips with one leg. This leaves your opponent open to sweeps because they can't defend themselves if their arms are bing controlled. This video is easy to follow, and gives you some great examples of sweeps from spider guard.

Submissions from Spider Guard - threaten your opponent with a sweep, then submit them

Jiu Jitsu moves are not a secret, and chances are your opponent will know a lot of the moves you are trying to accomplish and will most likely know how to defend them. So when you are trying to submit your opponent you need to lure them in, fake them out, and coax them into a submission that they might otherwise know how to defend against.

One good way of doing this is to develop combinations so that your opponent thinks you are going for one move, defends, and then you transition into the submission you had planned all along. Since sweeps are so natural from the spider guard position you can often fake a sweep and then transition into a submission like a triangle, or omoplata.

Watch these videos to see how you can transition from one move to another, and always remember that a jiu jitsu match is a game of chess, and you need to outsmart your opponent with superior technique.

Spider Guard Against A Heavy Opponent

open guard vs. closed guard against someone bigger

When I compete, I almost always compete against a larger opponent since I'm at the lower end of my weight class. In general, when I am fighting a heavier opponent my strategy will always be to get on top and stay on top. Since this is not always possible, it is good to have a game plan in place for if you end up on your back. Open guard is a great method to use against a heavier opponent because it keeps them at a safe distance and they are not on top of you where they can crush you.

You might ask, "well why use open guard, why not use a closed guard"? That's a good question, and to be honest, open guard is favored over a larger opponent because sometimes it is hard to keep them in your closed guard, or they might just use their strength to pass your closed guard. You can never win a battle of strength against someone that is heavier than you, so don't fight it; if you feel your guard is going to be opened then just transition to an open guard position.

Spider guard is a great variation of open guard because of its sweeps and submissions. It is a great tool to use against someone larger and heavier than yourself.

Passing Spider Guard - always have a good spider guard defense

So far I've shown you some sweeps and submissions from spider guard, but it is really important to learn how to defend against spider guard. You might not like playing spider guard, but your opponent might be really good at it.

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens, now starting to use open guard more and the spider guard.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      excuse me , but when u defined spider guard you defined as :

      "Spider guard is a type of open guard where you control your opponent's arms by grabbing both sleeves and then placing your feet on their biceps"

      i have a comment ,,,, you can grab both sleeves and place legs on hips , or on foot on hip and one on hand , you can also grab the lapel ... all that , and its still spider guard ,,,

      so its not only controlling sleeves with feet on biceps ... there are many more variations :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love playing with spider guard. I try to base my spider guard game on Braulio Estima's guard. Good stuff.

    • CaliforniaGrown profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @aquariann: That's great to hear that your fiance started jiu jitsu. I'm sure he is going to love it - you should give it a try too!

    • aquariann profile image


      8 years ago

      Fascinating! My fiance just started practicing jiu jitsu, so reading your guide will definitely help the first time I get to see him in action.


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