How To Combat A Spider Guard Player In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Spider guard is one of the most frustrating guards to deal with in all of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

The guard is an outstanding position for the attacker, who can use the full range of their body to maintain terrifyingly strong grips to either sweep or submit their opponent.

Like many of today’s attacking guards, spider guard once began as a defensive or stalling position. Now, much like z-guard, it has become a position that is equally good for defending and attacking. As mentioned, the position can be used to sweep or submit their opponent.

The spider guard isn’t just some random position that a few of your friends have been having success with while rolling. Top-level practitioners such as Leandro Lo have enjoyed tremendous success in world-class competitions while utilizing the guard. As a general rule, if a technique is being used effectively against black belts, it is something that you should immediately take notice of – either for attacking or defending purposes.

But today, we are not going to be focusing on sweeping or submitting opponents from spider guard. Rather, we are going to break down the ways to combat a spider guard player.

By reading this article, we hope to provide you with a number of ways to shake grips and create angles to turn the frustration on the person who is playing spider guard and not you.

Today, Evolve Vacation brings you ‘How To Combat A Spider Guard Player In BJJ’.

Rafael Mendes’ Spider Guard Pass

In the video above, Rafael Mendes shares a spider guard pass while also detailing a number of fundamental steps that are required to defend against the guard. By studying this technique, you will understand the essentials of how to combat a spider guard player while also adding a useful pass to your game at the same time.



Focusing on Mendes’ instructional video above, he explains that the first most important thing about defending and passing a spider guard is to have great posture.

That means that the defender should lower his hips and not stand completely upright. By lowering your hips, you can begin reducing the effectiveness of his control over your arms with his legs and feet.

To further reduce the effectiveness of his feet on your biceps and grips on your wrists, Mendes suggests pinching and bending your elbows to your body. This action will greatly reduce the leverage that your opponent has on your arm.


Step Back

The next fundamental objective of dealing with a spider guard player is to step back.

Mendes explains that by stepping forward, you will enable the spider guard player to achieve sweeps easily.

Stepping back reduces your opponent’s ability to use his legs to control your biceps, and it makes the position much more difficult for the attacker.

Additionally, Mendes states that you should never come to your knees when in spider guard as this enables your opponent to sweep you with ease.


Break a grip

You’re not safe yet, however. Although you might have excellent posture and have stepped back to reduce the weight above his hips, you must deal with the grips before you are free.

Without a proper understanding of how to break these grips, this could be the most difficult part of defending spider guard.

Following on with Mendes’ “Spider Guard Pass” video, we recommend using the grip breaking techniques as shown.

After choosing a grip to break, you must first let go of your own grip on his pant legs. Then, circle underneath his leg from the outside and push through on the inside of his leg. The stretching motion will use his leg as a wedge and force his grip to break.

It’s quite a simple break and allows you to begin passing his guard.


Pass the legs

Leg Drag Pass

The next logical step in this sequence is to get past the legs of your opponent so that you can begin moving into a dominant position. Despite being in a significantly better position now than before, the defender is still in danger because the attacker can attack and defend with his legs.

So, it’s time to take them out of the equation.

Mendes deals with the legs by dragging the leg on the same side as the grip you have not broken. To drag the leg, however, Mendes suggests stepping to the side, which allows the lag to pass through easier. It is much more difficult to try and drag the leg while you still have your original posture.

Simply, step to the side, drag the leg out, and then step back in toward the hips and begin applying pressure. The importance of stepping back in toward the hips is so that you don’t give your opponent too much space.

From here, you can smash what remains of his guard and transition into side control smoothly.


Thigh Stomp Pass

“Great Grappling” share another excellent way to pass an opponent’s spider guard if you want to have some versatility in your defensive game.

While Mendes’ pass was extremely technical and required many intricate steps, the Thigh Stomp Pass is a little more straight to the point.

Firstly, there are some consistencies between these two passes. Never allow your body to come too close to your opponent – you don’t want to give him your hips.

This pass begins by stepping on the thigh of their bent leg with your opposite-side foot. Place some pressure on the thigh before beginning to break your opponent’s grip on your same-side arm. The “Great Grappling” video uses a different technique to break the grip, so pay close attention to the scooping motion that is described.

The next step is to simply take that foot that was on the thigh across your body and to the mat. While doing this, use your pants grip on the other side to push your opponent’s knee into the mat. This essentially pins his legs to the mat and enables you to pass safely into either side control or the turtle position if he goes belly-down.

Again, this pass is definitely one that is worth having in your playbook if you are running into trouble with spider guard players.

In summary, though, remember the fundamental steps outlined above: posture and step back. This will make it all the more difficult for your opponent to play spider guard.


If you need a reminder why defending against spider guard players is important, make sure to watch this video: “5 Essential Spider Guard Sweeps” by Evolve University.


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