How to Pass ‘Worm Guard’


One of the big trends in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu recently has been the increasing sophistication of lapel-based guard control and sweeps. In this style of game the lapel gets fed around arms, behind the torso, and between the legs to make it difficult for your opponent to pass your guard and also much easier to sweep him.

The most recent variation in this evolutionary trend is a position called ‘the Worm Guard,’ used by Keenan Cornelius in the 2014 World championships against some very legitimate opponents.

Even if you think that this type of guardplay is the devil’s work and never, ever intend to use it in your own game you will probably still run into someone at your academy (or in competition) who will try it on you.

And in order too counter it you first need to understand it!

If you want to get right to countering the worm guard then scroll down to the third and final video at the bottom of the page that breaks down a multiple-time world champion’s answer to this vexing problem.

Otherwise if you’re still a little bit (understandably) confused by this lapel-based marionette thing start by watching this discussion and demonstration that Ostap Manastyrski and I had about the use of lapels in competition jiu-jitsu…

Now, on to the Worm Guard itself…

Here is the video in which Keenan himself breaks down this position as well as some of the most powerful sweeping options available to you from there…

So, let’s say that you’ve been caught in the Worm Guard by an enthusiastic early adopter of this position at your club…

If you just want to say no to all this wrapping, winding and binding then check out this video I used my connections to obtain for you and just released on my Youtube Channel. In this video 4 x BJJ World Champion and 6 x World Cup Champion Rodolfo Vieira shows his answer to smashing the Worm Guard.’


And finally, if you’re still trying to wrap your head around the basic mechanics of BJJ and figure out why you do certain things at certain times, then check out The Roadmap for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, my free guide for learning BJJ fast.

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