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How to Spider Guard Sweep a Standing Opponent in BJJ

Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

Spider guard sweep in action

Spider guard sweep in action

Spider vs. Standing

Dealing with a standing opponent in spider guard can be a tough proposition. If your partner is on their knees playing inside your spider guard, you have lots of great options, including the spider scissor sweep. However, they need only stand up in order to open up an entirely different dynamic for you to deal with. Fortunately for us, there is a very high percentage, competition-proven path to follow here: the "Leandro Lo sweep" series. This sweep leads right into a favorable passing or finishing position if done correctly, and it's very hard to defend.

The Lo Sweep

The initial starting position is the same "home base" used when attacking from the knees: right hand on the sleeve, right foot in the biceps, left hand controlling the same-side lapel, right at the collarbone. During this intermediate position, your partner may still be squatting down in combat base, with their right foot forward, in which case you can go for the triangle described below. However, once your partner stands, all this goes away.

Never fear; start by pulling yourself underneath your partner, utilizing the shin-on-shin hook to pull yourself in close, or else just put your left foot on the ground and reverse shrimp your hips underneath your partner. Use all of your grips to pull yourself under! Once your hips are under your partner's hips, step on their hip with your left foot (a la "single leg X guard), but then swivel your foot behind their knee. You can sweep them without this adjustment, but it's much harder, and the passing game changes completely.

The main idea here is to make your partner take a small step forward to keep their balance, and then you can just reach down with your right hand, grabbing their ankle. Now just push them backward with your hips. This will bring your partner to the ground, setting up the following guard pass technique.

The Leg Drag

Immediately upon finishing the sweep (well, technically you haven't finished the sweep until you come up on top and maintain your position for 3 seconds), you will notice that your right foot is in a sort of straight ankle lock position for your partner. While this may seem alarming at first, it turns out that it is an ideal leg drag guard pass position. Lean back and pass their left leg over to the other side of their body, creating a potential cross-body ankle lock position.

You can use your hook (the one you placed behind your partner's knee instead of leaving it on their hip in single leg X earlier) to facilitate this transfer. Once the leg is on the "wrong" side of your partner's body, you need to keep it there by stapling it in place. Grabbing their same-side collar with your right hand does the trick, although you can either staple it with your armpit or forearm. Finally, flatten your partner out and pin their biceps with your left hand. Now just free your leg, and finish in side control.


The opportunity to do the standing sweep arises when your partner is wary of having this shin-on-shin triangle setup done to them. Start with the left hand on the collar, right hand controlling their sleeve, right foot in their biceps again. This time, you're dealing with combat base, leg in the center. Swim your left foot in front of their leg so that you can kick their foot out, ultimately driving their knee to the ground. This shin was your only obstacle to jumping the triangle, so you should be able to hit this nicely during the transition. Again, if they stand up to avoid this technique, you can easily transition to the Leandro Lo sweep series described above.

Getting There

Once you have gotten good with this sweep series, it's really hard for your partner to stop, barring preventing the initial grips. This means that if you can get good at getting the grips, you can sweep or submit virtually anyone from this type of spider guard. I myself have had a great deal of success both in competition and at the gym utilizing these techniques, and I can say for certain that it's a really fun, controlling type of game to play. As always, please let me know how this series is working for you!

© 2017 Andrew Smith