Why You Should Learn How to Play the Spider Guard

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The spider guard has been my main guard position for a long time.​

There’s no perfect guard, but I believe the spider guard is a great open guard position to start with.​

Here are some reasons why you should learn how to play the spider guard:​

1. The learning curve isn’t that steep.​

While there are small details that can make a difference when you play the spider guard, the big idea of this position is straightforward:

  • Grab your opponent’s sleeve.
  • Place your foot on your opponent’s bicep on the same side as your primary sleeve grip.
  • Get another grip either on your opponent’s other sleeve or collar.
  • Use your free leg as an extra post to control the distance between yourself and your opponent.

​Once you got this basic idea, you can start experimenting with it right away.

​2. It’s a great learning tool.

​The spider guard helps you learn how to move your hips and create distance between yourself and your opponent. These skills apply to other areas of BJJ, primarily to open guard positions. Learn the spider guard, and you will learn some fundamental movements required in other positions.

​3. You have a wide variety of submission options.

​You can go for armbar, triangle choke, omoplata, and kneebar once you’ve established your spider guard control. Typically, other open guard positions don’t offer as many submission options as the spider guard. This feature makes the spider guard an offensive guard position.

​4. The spider guard is great as a transitionary position, too.

​You can easily switch from the spider guard to de la riva, reverse de la riva, x-guard, single leg x-guard, butterfly guard, lasso guard, or 50/50, and vice versa.

​If you want to become better at playing the open guard, you must know how to switch from one guard to another. The spider guard can work as a hub for all the other major open guard positions.

​Do you already use the spider guard? If you do, great! If not, consider adding it to your guard arsenal. I recommend checking out people like Romulo Barral, Michael Langhi, and Michele Nicolini for spider guard inspirations.