Smashing the Spider Guard
When it comes to the various forms that your opponents' and training partners' open guard can show you, none are as frustrating as the feeling of being stuck in a good Spider Guard players guard. With two powerful grips on my sleeves and at least one foot in my bicep, nothing makes you feel more "sweepable" or feeling like a puppet being made to dance wherever they want you to go.
And like a lot of jiu jitsu, every normal reaction your mind and body tell you to do has never been more wrong as it is when facing spider guard. Bring your legs into play to put pressure into their hips, they will grab your ankles and sweep you. Putting your legs into danger may also make it easier for them to begin working De La Riva, X guard or some other technique.
In the video below, Matheus Gonzaga, one of the most promising featherweight competitors out there, shares with Bernardo Faria his most technical, yet easy to implement ideas for killing the spider guard and sending those players scrambling for their side control escapes at the end. Check it out below!
For Matheus the most important thing to do, first and foremost, is not to give the spider guard player access to your legs or ankles. If they have access to your legs, they can begin to work other variations of open guard, such as De La Riva or X guard which will open up their game and potentially you to sweeps and more submissions, when addressing the spider guard is right in front of you. Also if you expose your legs to the opponent, they can grab your ankles and catch you in that sweep that is known as the "idiot sweep" for a very good reason. You don't want to be that person!
Once you've backed up and safely kept your legs away from them, the next priority is to keep your elbows close together (always a good rule) and keep them from swaying you back and forth, again making you vulnerable to sweeps. By using the closing of the elbows and the elbows as gripping and guiding tools (when the opponent is keeping you from gripping effectively), you essentially are able to nullify their legs and begin to make the pass happen.
For Matheus he uses a torreando style bullfight pass where he creates a bicycle riding feeling in his legs with one leg compressed and the other extended. This coupled with his grips, nullify any chance that Bernardo can regain the guard. He finishes with a complete 360 degree pass, not just to side control but to the opposing side which makes it much more unlikely the opponent can recover.
For more from one of the top featherweight competitors out there, check out Matheus Gonzaga's "Lightweight Guard" available here from BJJ Fanatics!