Thursday, April 23, 2009

Focusing on the “spider Guard

Last night, Andres taught class for Darren, and he focused on the SPIDER GUARD. This is a pretty foreign guard for me, so I was keen to absorb as much of it as I can. For those of you who are not familiar with this position, what was shown last night was fairly Gi dependent. It’s a type of open guard where the guy on bottom controls both sleeves with the grips while using his feet on the opponents, thighs, hips, and biceps. We started by working a pretty cool sweep from this position where one guy has Spider Guard while the other guy is on his knees. This guard requires lots of tension with the Gi grips, and for this sweep, you need to pick a side where your leg is extended and you’re really creating tension with the same side Gi grip. The other leg is used on the partner's opposite leg from the side with tension to sweep the leg while pulling in with the other Gi grip. It’s definitely a cool sweep, for sure, and the challenging aspect about this sweep is to maintain the grips while coming up in full mount.

We then transitioned to Andres’s specialty, catching the triangle from this open guard—pretty straightforward for me when the guy’s on his knees, but a little harder for me to catch when the guy is standing in my Spider Guard, for I was having trouble locating his head with my legs from this distance.

Lastly, we worked two different sweeps from this guard while the training partner was standing. We picked a side, took a cross-grip on the Gi while grabbing the same side ankle, pushing the hip, and hooking behind the guy’s knee with the off-leg. That sweep was pretty easy for me. The second sweep is a bit more trickier, for if the guy steps his leg back—the leg controlled by the Guard player’s hand, then one must switch their feet, push with the opposite foot while creating momentum with the other leg while sweeping out the leg not controlled by the guard player’s hand. This doesn’t make a great deal of sense, I’m sure, but I don’t know how best to describe it.

We then concluded by going two five minute matches at about 25% to work these positions. I did OK when my partner was on his knees, but am struggling staying connected and keeping good tension when he would stand up. Defending my guard while my partner/opponent is standing is undoubtedly the worst part of my Jiu Jitsu game. So, I’m open to any suggestions, comments, etc regarding:

1. A Non-visual way of locating the guy’s head when I’m trying to catch the triangle choke from Spider Guard while the guy’s standing, and
2. Locating the guy’s biceps with my feet quickly and smoothly. I have problems doing this depending on my partner’s dimensions. For instance, I kept putting my feet nearer to my partners shoulders last night.

I suppose this will get better with lots of drilling, but I really am up for advice on locating the guy’s head as I pull him into the triangle from this guard while he’s standing.

My transition to chokes are feeling better, and I’m starting to catch more of our blue belts with them while rolling, so I’m happy with this progress. Spring time’s just starting to hit here, and I’m pretty amped up to train hard during the warmer months. Unfortunately, I’m gonna miss a few days of training due to work commitments this week, but I’ve managed to get a private lesson with Darren under my belt this week to make up for the light training schedule.

In June, the Ohio Grappling Challenge makes its way to Cleveland, and if I’m healthy, I want to use that opportunity to REALLY go HARD in a tournament. I’m planning a few trips down to Columbus with Darren and a few guys over the coming weeks—every Friday afternoon, the Relson Gracie school down there hosts an open mat for guys to just come and train, and I’m interested in rolling hard with some purple, brown, and black belts who will SMASH me and really push me super hard.


Larry, the LTrain


  1. I belive that Spider guard is a transitory position once your opponent is standing you dont need keep him on guard just attack using different positions that i am sure ur teacher already taught u...well if are u having problems to keep the guard enough time to do the positions i think you need improve the strenght of your gripping and coordenate ur legs moves...but all those stuffs come with time im sure u already much better..since this post was a bit old...well i hope that what i said was sort usefully(Sorry my english)

  2. While the Spider Guard is good to use with both legs while an opponent is on their knees, it can be impractical to try to keep both of your feet on your opponent's arms when they stand up. I am a shorter person, so like you're saying, it is harer for me to control with both feet high in the air like that. Instead, when my opponent stands, I will usually transition to a variation of spider guard that involves only one foot either pushing on their biceps or laced through. I will generally use a De La Riva or Reverse De La Riva hook with the other leg. Since only one leg is occupied with the spider guard part, your other arm is free to grab either one of their ankles or legs. Try switching around between some of these different options. What I also like to do when they stand up out of spider guard is just transition to a different guard entirely like De La Riva or single-leg guard, or some other open guard. I really recommend adding some DLR sweeps to your arsenal, it's a great guard.

  3. If you are having trouble maintaining spider guard once your opponent postures, switch to De la Riva guard.

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