Is No-Gi Spider Guard the Dumbest Idea Ever?

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Spider guard is often considered as a heavily gi-oriented guard position.

You are supposed to make one sleeve grip at least, and typically you grab your opponent’s other sleeve or collar.

It’s one of the most annoying positions for those on the receiving end of spider guard control.

But you hardly see spider guard players using spider guard in no-gi… if they do no-gi at all.

So “no-gi spider guard” might sound weird. It might sound like the dumbest idea ever, indeed.

Can you even “spider” in no-gi?

It turns out… yes, you can do that in no-gi as well.

You need to control your opponent’s wrist in a particular way. You use your middle finger, ring finger, and thumb to wrap your opponent’s wrist. Make sure that your middle & ring fingers will cover the bottom, meaty part of your opponent’s hand. And you can place your foot on your opponent’s bicep just like doing spider guard in gi.

You can grab your opponent’s other wrist the same way. Or you can play it more like half spider and hold your opponent’s shin/calf area on the same side as your spider control side.

But… there are many dumb things you could do, and the fact that you could do them doesn’t mean you should do them, right?

Right. Exactly.

So, why might it be a good idea to use spider guard in no-gi?

There are a few potentially good reasons.

  1. You can use spider guard to create some distance, which allows you to reset the situation. So, basically, this is one of the primary uses of spider guard in gi as well. The significant difference is that it will be difficult to keep holding on to the spider guard position without gi. But you can still use spider guard for this purpose in no-gi, too.
  2. You can use spider guard to make a transition into another guard. Again, the same thing as in #1 applies here.
  3. You can use spider guard to create offensive opportunities, especially opportunities to attack your opponent’s legs. The easiest way to deal with no-gi spider is to posture up. Since you can’t rely on your opponent’s gi to control their posture, it’s the most obvious thing for them to do. But when they posture up and stand tall, you may have easier access to their legs. Probably kneebar is the most obvious one. And then… you can get into the backside 50/50 heel hook position from no-gi spider guard as well. I believe this is not something people expect, but it’s not a crazy move if you know what you’re doing.


I’m not here to recommend you to do no-gi spider guard.

But instead…

My point is that even something potentially stupid like no-gi spider guard can be used effectively.

It’s easy to dismiss all sorts of things as useless, but maybe give them a shot, especially if they are useful in one area. There may be ways to make them work in another area. (In this case, spider guard in gi vs. spider guard in no-gi.)

Keep your mind open. Keep learning.

Learning opportunities are limitless in Jiu Jitsu unless you decide to close your mind and decide that you know everything you need to know.