The Spider Guard is a powerful position that can be used to sweep, submit, and control your opponent. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of the Spider Guard, the techniques involved, and how to incorporate it into your game.
History of the Spider Guard
Footage from kosen judo tournaments of the 1940s era shows that the Spider Guard was being used at that time. However, it wasn’t until the late 1980s and early 1990s, as the sport of Jiu-Jitsu grew in Rio de Janeiro, that the Spider Guard we know today was developed. It evolved from the open guard position, which had been greatly developed by previous generations of BJJ practitioners, such as Helio Gracie and Carlos Gracie Junior. Initially, the Spider Guard was used as a defensive option, particularly when fighting against larger opponents. But in time more top level practitioners began to use it to create more attacking opportunities. In todays Gi Jiu Jitsu game, the spider guard is a versatile tool used by many.
Benefits of Using the Spider Guard
The Spider Guard is a highly effective position in BJJ that offers numerous benefits, including:
- Control: The Spider Guard allows you to control your opponent’s movement and posture, limiting their options and forcing them to react to your attacks.
- Offense: From the Spider Guard, you can attack with a variety of submissions, sweeps, and transitions, giving you a wide range of offensive options.
- Defense: The Spider Guard is also a great defensive position, as it allows you to nullify your opponent’s attacks and keep them on the end of your most powerful tool: your legs.
- Versatility: The Spider Guard can be used against both standing and ground opponents, making it a versatile position that can be used in many different situations.
Techniques of the Spider Guard
To effectively use the Spider Guard in BJJ, you’ll need to master a few key techniques and principles. These include:
Grips: The Spider Guard relies on grips, which are used to control your opponent’s arms and limit their movement. The most common grips used in the Spider Guard are the sleeve and the collar grips.
Leg Positioning: Your legs play a crucial role in the Spider Guard, as they’re used to control your opponent’s arms and create space for your attacks. You must ensure
Attacks: From the Spider Guard, you can attack with a variety of techniques, including sweeps, submissions, and transitions. Some of the most common attacks from the Spider Guard include:
- Spider Sweep
- Triangle Choke
- Omoplata sweeps and submissions
- Transitions to other sweeps (e.g. scissor sweep)
Strategies for an Effective Spider Guard
To effectively use the Spider Guard in BJJ, you’ll need to develop a few key strategies. These include:
- Grip Fighting: Since the Spider Guard relies on grips, it’s important to develop strong grip fighting skills. This means breaking your opponent’s grips and establishing your own. There can be many variations of grips but you’ll want to control at least one of the sleeves to prevent your opponent from breaking down your guard.
- Timing: Timing is crucial in the Spider Guard, as you’ll need to attack at the right moment to catch your opponent off guard. This means being patient and waiting for the right opportunity to present itself.
- Distance Management: The Spider Guard requires you to maintain a certain distance from your opponent to be effective. This means using your legs to control their movement and creating space for your attacks.
Counters to the Spider Guard
While the Spider Guard can be an effective way to control and attack your opponent, it is not without its weaknesses. Here are some common counters to the Spider Guard that you may encounter in BJJ:
- Leg Drag: One effective way to counter the Spider Guard is with a leg drag. This involves stepping over your opponent’s leg and dragging it across their body, which can disrupt their control and allow you to pass their guard.
- Torreando Pass: The torreando pass involves passing your opponent’s guard by pushing their legs to the side and stepping over them. This can be an effective counter to the Spider Guard if you can break your opponent’s grips and prevent them from controlling your sleeves.
- Knee Cut: The knee cut pass involves slicing your knee through your opponent’s guard and passing to side control. This can be an effective counter to the Spider Guard if you can control your opponent’s legs and prevent them from creating angles and sweeping you.
- Over-Under Pass: The over-under pass involves controlling one of your opponent’s legs and passing to side control by stepping over the other leg. This can be an effective counter to the Spider Guard if you can prevent your opponent from controlling your sleeves and off-balancing you.
- Leg Locks: Another way to counter the Spider Guard is with leg locks. By attacking your opponent’s legs, you can force them to abandon their Spider Guard and defend their legs instead.
Is the Spider Guard Effective Against Larger Opponents?
Yes, the Spider Guard can be effective against opponents of all sizes. However, it requires strong grip fighting skills and proper technique to be effective against larger opponents.
Can the Spider Guard Be Used in Competition?
Yes, the Spider Guard is a popular position in BJJ competition and can be used to score points and submit opponents.
What Are Some Common Mistakes To Avoid When Using the Spider Guard?
Some common mistakes to avoid when using the Spider Guard include:
- Poor Grip Fighting: Without strong grip fighting skills, your opponent can easily break your grips and nullify your attacks. Make sure to develop your grip fighting skills to effectively use the Spider Guard.
- Overcommitting to Attacks: It’s important to be patient when using the Spider Guard and wait for the right opportunity to attack. Overcommitting to attacks can leave you vulnerable to counterattacks and sweeps.
- Improper Leg Positioning: Your leg positioning is crucial in the Spider Guard, and improper positioning can make it easier for your opponent to pass your guard. Make sure to use proper leg positioning to control your opponent’s movement and create space for your attacks.
The Spider Guard is a highly effective position in BJJ that offers numerous benefits, which makes it a great guard to build attacks from. To effectively use the Spider Guard, you’ll need to master a few key techniques, develop strong grip fighting skills, and be patient and strategic in your attacks. With practice and dedication, the Spider Guard can become a powerful weapon in your BJJ arsenal.