The spider guard is one of the coolest things about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I mean, you’ve got to wonder, ‘How long did it take for BJJ practitioners to figure out they can control people’s arms with their feet?’ It probably didn’t take us long. However, it’s not that easy to figure out because it’s a tilt thing. It’s not static like the closed guard. You’ve got to adjust position and feel out which way you can pull your opponent or partner. We’ll be looking at a couple of things that elevate your spider guard to the next level.

Muscle Memory and Leg Dexterity

The single best thing you can do for your spider guard is the belt drill. It’s the best thing you can do because you can do it by yourself. You could perhaps take 10 minutes out of each day to do this. All you need is your gi belt. Grab on each side and attach spider hooks. Don’t overextend your leg. It’s best if your knee isn’t hyperextended because if it is you won’t be able to feel what’s going on with your opponent’s center of gravity. In addition, if your knee is locked there’ll be no muscles active to insulate your leg from injury. Now, to really turn it into an effective drill, you’ll need to transition between spider hooks and lasso hooks. This is going to make your legs just as dextrous as your hands, perhaps even more.

A Contingency Plan

Alright, you’re already building muscle memory with the previous drill and feeling pretty confident using the spider guard. It’s time to check out some spider specific guard retention techniques. Getting passed before you can mount an attack can crush the spirit. That’s why you’ll need to work on your granby roll and the hand-post hip escape or butt scoot.

The granby roll is just a shoulder roll. Whenever your opponent pulls you into sitting guard post a hand on the opposite side of his pass and stiff arm his sleeve or collar, in effect transfering the power of your hip into your framed stiff-arm. Most times you’ll be able to sit back into spider, but if you’ve got a sleeve grip he might let his arm go limp to pass. In this case, abandon the post you had with your non-gripping hand and roll over that shoulder.

The Single Most Effective Offensive Spider-Guard Technique there is

By this point, you’ve already got the dexterity you need to work the spider guard and a contingency plan if things go wrong. It’s time to mount your offense and we’ve got the best and most effective technique for you right here. You’re probably not even going to find it on youtube. It’s the spider guard triangle.

You’ve got two spider hooks. Now, instead of shooting for the neck or using your opponent’s hip to bridge up and shoot, use one of your spider hooks to bridge up and shoot behind his armpit. This is what some people call the stomping triangle. Pinch your opponent’s side and drive your heel into his far shoulder. All your weight is still centered on their other bicep. They’re not going to be able to defend. Use the pinching leg to rotate and lock on a triangle.