Experts Tips for Successfully Implementing Squid Guard in BJJ

Last updated on 18.06.2023 by

BJJ guards have been evolving at a rapid pace in recent years and many lapel style guards like worm guard. But worm guard mastermind, Keenan Cornelius has developed another powerful guard that he calls “the squid guard.”

Let’s dive in and go over tips for successfully implementing squid guard into your BJJ game. Going over all the important details of the guard, so that you use it, as well as defend against it.

What is Squid Guard? 

The squid guard was developed by worm guard creator and lapel guard master Keenan Cornelius. While developing his worm guard, Cornelius would also stumble into also developing the squid guard.

A Keenan Cornelius style of lapel guard that he developed that plays off his original worm guard. He noticed when he would try to enter worm guard, his opponents would hide their back leg to defend the entry.

This would create another entry for him that would lead into what he would call squid guard. A style of lapel guard, where you entangle your opponent’s lapel around their lead leg. 

Using this guard enables you to keep your opponent’s posture broken, while opening up numerous techniques. Different sweeps depending on how they react, and a few submission options.

Since the guard’s introduction, many young guard players are beginning to use it in their BJJ games. Proving that it’s quite effective and a guard that you should consider learning.

How Does the Squid Guard Work? 

Before we get into the various attacks, you first need to learn how to enter into the squid guard. Here’s a walk through of the best way of entering into this jiu jitsu guard.

Take Out Opponent’s Lapel

Of course, since this is a style of lapel guard, you have to start it by taking out your opponent’s lapel. Use a cross grab from open guard to take out your opponent’s lapel. Once you have their lapel out, you can now begin working into the squid guard.

Pass the Lapel

After establishing control of your opponent’s lapel, you’re going to pass it to your outside hand. This hand is hooking under your opponent’s lead leg.

Before you pass the lapel, take your inside like and push on your opponent’s back knee. This forces them to turn their torso in, which allows you to get more of their lapel out to hold.

Now, as you pass the lapel, turn your body 180 degrees when your opponent tries to turn and face you. Doing this gives you a path to pass their lapel and get into squid guard.

Leg Placement

Before you pass your opponent’s lapel, you have to remember an important detail. The placement of your leg.

You don’t just pass the lapel over your opponent’s leg, but also your own leg. Straighten out this leg and place the curve of your foot on the side of their body.

Doing this allows you to tie up your opponent and go into whatever sweeping or submission technique you want to use.

Watch the creator of squid guard, Keenan Cornelius break down how you get into squid guard.

Squid Guard Attacks

There’s a variety of attacks from squid guard that you can use on your opponents. Here are the details for different sweeps and submissions that you can use with this guard.

Squid Guard Sweep Option 1 (Back Roll)

There are two ways to hold the squid guard. Either staying frontal with your opponent for guard retention or turning your 180 degrees to get into sweeping position.

Before going into the sweep, you will need to establish control of your opponent’s knee. Grab the lapel you’re controlling with two hands and pull their knee into your stomach.

Doing this compromises their base and prevents them from putting their foot on the mat to base. From here, you have two sweep options depending on how your opponent reacts.

If your opponent tries to sit back, all you have to do is use their momentum against them. When they try to sit back, grab their pants to pull them across your body. They’ll be light and go over with ease.

Squid Guard Sweep Option 2 (Flower Sweep Variation)

Your opponent may realize their base is compromised in squid guard, so they may not want to sit back. Instead, they might try to backstep over your head to potentially escape.

When they do this, it puts them in position for a type of flower sweep variation. All you do is let your opponent’s leg clear your head, underhook their leg, and sit up to sweep them.

Check out the video of Keenan setting up squid guard to see how he sets up the two sweeps above.

Squid Guard Canto Choke 

A Canto choke is a great option from squid guard. Your opponent is so focused on trying to get out of the guard that they forget to defend their collar.

All you do is grab your opponent’s collar with your free hand. Grab a deep thumb-in grip and pull your opponent down.

With their head down, it makes it easy to swing your outside leg around and over your opponent’s head. Clamp the back of your leg on your opponent’s head and pull their collar to lock on the submission.

Squid Guard Counter Armbar

When you try the Canto choke from squid guard, it’s normal for your opponent to defend by grabbing your outside leg. They may have defended the choke, but you now have a tight counter armbar option.

After your opponent grabs your leg to defend the choke, grab at their elbow and break their grip on your pants. You’re going to make the same movement as the choke and rotate your outside leg around your opponent’s body.

But instead of going for the choke, you’re going to take a tight armlock.

Squid Guard Americana Variation

Your opponent might defend the armbar by turning their arm and freeing their elbow. This opens up a tight Americana option. Trap your opponent’s hand/wrist and turn to put immense pressure on their elbow.

Check out how to do the Canto choke, armbar, and Americana in this video from Yoshi Jiu Jitsu.

Squid Guard Kneebar

When you go into the sweeping position in squid guard, this gives you a great set up for a kneebar. You’re going to make the same movement to get into sweeping position, but while you also cross, grab your opponent’s sleeve.

As you roll into your opponent, grab your opponent’s heel and drive your body into their leg. They will fall to their back and put you in position to finish the knee bar.

Andre Galvao recorded a nearly twenty minute breakdown of this technique that you can watch here.

How to Pass the Squid Guard? 

You may never in your life use the squid guard, but you will have it used on you one day. Here is how you defend against the squid guard.

Kill Opponent’s Movement

Once you get put in squid guard, you have to address the problem immediately, or you will get swept. What you’ll have to do first is kill your opponent’s movement.

To prevent them from turning into the sweeping position, you have to control their free leg and base on their stomach. Grab hold of their pants and place your foot on their stomach to prevent them from moving.

Sit Down

Since you can’t move into your opponent, your best option is to sit down. Keep a hold of your opponent’s pants and foot on their stomach as you sit down and scoot your body away.

The Pit Stop

Next, pummel your leg to the inside of your opponent’s body and go into a technical stand-up. This puts you in a position that some call “the pit stop.”

From this position, you have stopped lapel squid guard and have different options to pass. You can either pass across the inside of your opponent or pass to the far side.

The Squid Guard vs. Worm Guard

If you’re just getting into using Keenan’s lapel guard system, you may get confused between squid and worm guard. There is one big difference between these two styles of guard.

In worm guard, you entangle your opponent’s far leg and with squid guard, you entangle their near leg. You should definitely consider both of these types of guards, because they complement each other very well.

When your opponent defends your entry into one of these guards, it opens an opportunity to go into the other. Giving you options to constantly attack your opponent.

In Conclusion

BJJ is constantly evolving, and lapel squid guard is one of the most unique to come out in recent years. If you’re a guard player, this guard along with the worm guard will compliment your game very well.

But even if you aren’t a guard player, you should still learn how to use squid guard. It’ll give you insight on how to defend against it whenever you inevitably run into a squid guard player.