Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.
Spidering in BJJ
Spider guard has long been one of the more irritating types of guard to pass. Spider guard offers the tremendous benefit of keeping a much larger opponent at bay, so no matter what size your partner is, they can likely give you a tough time with this particular guard.
What follows are three very fundamental approaches to passing spider guard you can start using right away. You might also consider studying some of these options for spider guard, or even these more advanced options in order to more fully understand the potential of the position.
The basic premise behind the "express pass" for spider guard is important, crucial, and very simple to understand. The general idea is to swim both of your arms underneath your partner's feet so that you can enter into a stacking double under style guard pass.
However, this opportunity only arises when (and if) your partner stretches both legs out equally (or, rather, contracts them equally). This will allow you enough room to swim both hands underneath at the same time, allowing you to grip the pants from underneath, upending your unsuspecting partner. It is important to push your hips forward as you enter into the double under-like position. You want to keep solid pressure coming forward (no guard maintenance allowed here!).
This "turning pass" approach has one key similarity with the last guard pass: the swimming under of the hand to clear the spider "biceps" hook. Assuming your partner is gripping your left sleeve with their right hand, stretching your left biceps away from your body with their right foot, start by swimming your right arm underneath their foot. From here, reach across and grab their other pants leg (still keeping your hand underneath their leg). Next, use this "two on one" grip in order to allow you to posture up and strip the grip your partner has on your sleeve (posture and strip simultaneously). Finally, it's just a matter of turning your partner (rotating) away from you. If desired, a knee-on-stomach armlock is readily available.
The third pass we're looking at once again reinforces the fundamental "swim under" concept that is so important to passing spider guard. Circle your right hand underneath, but this time, instead of reaching for the far pants, step on their downed leg! This will facilitate stripping the (very difficult) spider guard biceps grip they still have on your left arm. After all, once the other sleeve grip is gone, you can simply posture up and turn the corner much easier. Once the stomp comes on, you can push your partner's leg away from you and just drop down into side control.
Simple and Complex
While this tutorial only deals with a small fraction of the types of spider guard someone might play against you, the overarching principles are going to be consistent across the board. Here, it's often a matter of swimming one of your hands underneath their outstretched leg. Naturally, this can be quite a struggle, and so manifold options abound once we get into the variations within spider guard.
Start relatively simple, using general principles, and you can gradually work up to much more complex troubleshooting over time. As always, please let me know if these techniques help you any! Happy training!
© 2018 Andrew Smith