Love the Worm Guard, but don’t know what to do when your opponent defends it?

Feeling lost when they counter your sweep, step over your leg or shut down your grips?

Well, this is your lucky day.

Because we’re going to break down a highly effective Worm Guard sequence to provide you with THE answers to all of your opponent ’s defences.

To help you even further, at the end of this article, you’ll find an easy to follow WORM CHART mapping out each and every step of the…

… Hey!

… Hey! What are you doing? Don’t even think about scrolling to the end without looking at the theory first.

You did it, didn’t you?

You scrolled to the bottom to look at the chart before reading the theory like I asked you to.

…sigh ok, let’s continue with…

The Theory of Worm-vrything

Setting Up the Worm Guard

It all has to start somewhere, so for this particular Worm Guard sequence, we’re going to start with the fundamental position itself.

As this is the most basic aspect of the Worm Guard, if you do not yet have a grasp on how to set up and control this position, the rest of this article won’t be of much use to you.

If this is the case, follow the link to this article detailing the correct way to set up the Worm Guard before continuing to the…

Fundamental Worm Guard Sweep

After setting up the Worm Guard, your next step will be to take your opponent down for the 2 points via the fundamental Worm Guard sweep, AKA the technical stand up sweep.

Fundamental Worm Guard Sweep
First, take a palm down position with your lapel grip hand…
Fundamental Worm Guard Sweep
Now, scoot back slightly and extend your bottom leg out in a circular motion towards you to be placed in the shin-on-shin position. Moving your leg in this circular fashion is great for those of you with limited hip mobility, who may find it difficult to simply retract your foot to your butt to achieve the shin-on-shin.
Fundamental Worm Guard Sweep
From here, stand up by posting on your arm and elevate your hips, then…
Fundamental Worm Guard Sweep
...sweep your opponent to the ground by driving them backwards moving in a circular motion with your hand on the ground as a pivot point. Don't try to drive them directly backwards as their non-worm leg will be too strong of a structural support. The pivoting motion is a better option as, in an attempt to maintain their base, your opponent will have to step their non-worm leg circularly behind them, which they can only do so for so long before it becomes impossible for them to stand.

Important note…

Once the sweep has been completed, you must ensure the positioning of your knee over that of your opponent’s…

Fundamental Worm Guard Sweep
As you can see here, immediately after the sweep, your opponent has the ability to initiate the Single X Guard.
Fundamental Worm Guard Sweep
To avoid this, begin pivoting to the outside of your opponent’s knee and use the elbow on your Worm Guard grip arm to push against their knee. Your grip on the lapel will provide you with extra leverage for this push…
Fundamental Worm Guard Sweep
Continue pushing against the knee until it is pinned under your leg and your opponent’s dreams of retaining any type of guard are shattered. From here, you can turn back to take the mount, or, initiate one of those berimbolos all the kids are raving about.

Ok, so what if your opponent is super strong and decides they’re going to drive YOU down and put you on YOUR back?

That’s when we hit the…

Reverse De La Worm

Reverse De La Worm
Begin by passing your inside hand through the gap between your opponent’s ankle and your own hip. Pass the lapel to this hand and consolidate the Reverse De La Worm grip.
Reverse De La Worm
The Reverse De La Worm is such a great option as it severely limits your opponent’s ability to turn and face you…

This provides you with a number of benefits, with the two greatest being…

  1. They cannot square up with you to complete or even initiate any form of guard pass
  2. They are restricted to facing away from you – even if only a couple of degrees past square – making your path to the back a heck of a lot EASIER!
Reverse De La Worm
However, looking back at the first photo in this section, you’ll also notice the kryptonite of the position: Your opponent’s ability to push your Worm Guard leg down and step over it. If your opponent is successful in stepping over your leg, the control you once had over their ability to turn is now diminished and they will be once again able to square up with you…

But, little do they know they’ve been set up for the…


So as we can see here, the standing opponent has successfully stepped over the leg and places a post on Keenan’s non-worm leg to stop him from swinging to the back.
However, Keenan is now able to use the Reverse De La Worm grip on the lapel to aid him in inverting, much like entering the Kiss of the Dragon sweep...

And much like the Tornado sweep made famous by Cyborg Abreu, Keenan uses the kicking of his hamstring to elevate his opponent for a Jiu Jitsu triple threat

1) Reversing the position, placing him on top…

2) Scoring 2 points; and…

3) Blowing this guy’s mind!


What if They Defend at the Very Beggining and Don’t Let

You Get Your Leg into the Worm Hole?

Let’s rewind back to the start…

One of the only, if not THE only person to successfully shut down the Worm Guard in high-level competition is Leandro Lo.

Lo achieved this feat by essentially pinning Keenan down and killing the initial entry of the Worm Guard i.e…

  1. The placing of the foot at the hip; and
  2. The weaving of the lapel around it.

This brings us to possibly the greatest concept in Jiu Jitsu when it comes to shutting down your opponent’s position…

Let’s unpack this by looking a basic spider guard sweep.

Let’s assume this hypothetical version of the sweep follows the sequence below from beginning to end…

  1. You establish grips on your opponent’s sleeves.
  2. With one leg, you gain foot position on your opponent’s biceps.
  3. With the other leg, you gain your auxiliary hooking or pushing foot position e.g. on their leg, hip or other biceps.
  4. You look to identify and position yourself at a pivot point under your opponent.
  5. You now look to create an imbalance in their base.
  6. You get them to commit their weight in one direction.
  7. You sweep them in that direction.

Ok, so we can agree that’s a fairly basic sequence of events in a spider guard sweep.

Now, if I were to ask you, from a context of defence, which of those steps would you focus on the most to defend yourself against the sweep, what would you answer?

Which step, once defused, would provide the easiest, most efficient and most effective point of defence for you?

If you answered 1, you’d be 100% correct and on your way to understanding the dance that is Jiu Jitsu…

So, now we understand this concept…


What does that say for the person on the other side of the dice?  What should they do?

Give up on playing that position?


Devise another, more devastating, more fiendish version of the guard to make those who try to deny it pay dearly…

… as necessity is the mother of all creation, to counter the defence to the Worm Guard, of which Keenan is the mother, he came to create


Let’s Check it out!

While the opponent is busy defending what would normally be the securing of your Worm Guard leg via the lapel, they leave themselves wide open to attacks on their OTHER lapel!
As you can see here, Keenan takes control over his opponent’s lapel with his outside hand, while at the same time keeping his right leg up to manage distance and block the hip...
… now, Keenan passes his right (inside) hand between his body and his opponent’s shin helping him to invert, placing it in prime position to receive the lapel from his other hand.
Returning back to the position prior to inverting, Keenan now has the Omega Worm grip and an easy path to the back... Much like the Reverse De La Worm, the beauty of this variation is that the pull of the lapel and the placement of the leg greatly impede his opponent’s ability to square up or look him in his eyes…

… and who wouldn’t want to stare into those dreamy drops of blue ocean?

Sorry, where was I…

Oh yeah, OMEGA WORM.

I know what you’re thinking…

“This sounds too good to be true, there has to be a defence to this, right?”

Yes, this is Jiu Jitsu, there is always a defence being created to everything. And the most common defence to the Omega Worm (if not dealt with at the initial step, as we spoke about earlier) is often the posting of your opponent's arm on your far shoulder killing your ability to sit up and take the back...


Remember what we said about necessity being the mother of all inventions?

Well Keenan popped a squat and gave birth to this handsome bad boy…


Ok, so I know that was a ton of information and you’re probably wondering

“How the heck am I supposed to retain all that, let alone put it to action on the mats?!”

So no more fam…

Your Easy to Follow Worm Chart

Easy to Follow Worm Chart

Now, Is this a complete sequence? No.

Is this all you need to know about the Worm Guard game and can you rely solely on it to become a hard-nosed, hard fighting, hard farting killing machine?

Not quite…

But, this fundamental sequence will give you a start and it will serve as a systematic framework for your approach on the mat.

One that you can edit and/or add to as you progress on your journey through the Worm Hole.

However, if you want to go further in depth and learn all there is to know about the Worm, and earn your degree in Lapelology…

… then you need to check out the LAPEL ENCYCLOPEDIA!

Right now if you join our newsletter, we’ll send you 3 videos from the Lapel Encyclopedia over the next 3 days – TOTALLY FREE!

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Trust us…

… you don’t want to be behind on this knowledge.

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