Deciphering the Worm Guard: 3 Worm Guard Counters To Look At

There have been a lot of videos lately dedicated to the worm guard. I figured, what the heck, let’s put some of the best counters together and talk about it.

Let’s start out with what the worm guard is (as far as we can tell).

The worm guard was seen recently on the BJJ Scout’s website.

Let’s take a look at some worm action before we look at some counters.


1. First let’s take a look at Jason Scully of the Grapplers Guide. One thing I took away and agree with within this philosophy is not letting your opponent get the grips. I think prevention is obviously a great way to avoid the worm guard’s grasp. Another point of advice he gave was to get low and stay back and away -Low level passing.

In fact if you watch in the Buchecha match here, Buchecha starts out low and away until Buchecha allowed for Keenan to thread the lapel by raising his knee and giving Keenan the opportunity. Rodolfo mentions this one-knee up one-knee down dilemma in the 2nd counter below. Finally, Jason shows different points of the worm guard and points of prevention within it. It’s certainly worth studying what he has to say.

Here is Jason’s video:

2. Let’s dig into World Champion Rodolfo Vieira’s worm guard counter.

Rodolfo treats the worm guard in a similar fashion as some would treat the leg lasso.

He gives some killer details, such as positioning the knee out to make the hand and presumably wrist uncomfortable (which with the right pressure may lead to a broken grip I would assume for some).

It must be noted, that if you watch Keenan at the 2014 worlds he has been using a palm up grip (the video below and the BJJ Scout video above seem to show palm down, which may or may not be important and can get very tricky if you watch the Buchecha match as he reorganizes his grip to palm up right before he sweeps while threading).

You really have to study that even more deeply than I am suggesting to understand it. Quite frankly, I do not fully understand it yet.

But going deeper, Rodolfo also brings his knee out and seems to keep his weight forward, crowding the guard rather than backing away, making a wide lateral base as opposed to keeping his legs close together is crucial to take note of.

Rodolfo then grasps the collar and brings the foot between his legs. Pretty much smashing down on them toward the side, securing the hips. Now, it is important to note that Rodolfo did have some trouble with Keenan during their only meeting at Copa Podio, where Keenan was using the lapel to keep him at bay (similar to how he reposed guard with Murilo Santana when he was trying to pass).

Here is Rodolfo’s video below:

3. Now let’s take a look at Josiah Longshark from Australia, a teenager who came up with a dynamic way to berimbolo (I think that’s the right word) his way out of the worm guard. His approach is aggressive to come to the other side and roll through and come toward the back. I am assuming the grip will break with the strength of your leg and or hip thrust once coming through.

Here is Josiah’s video:

I am sure there are some other great videos. You are welcome to tell us about them below and your thoughts on this breakdown and guard study.

Of special Note, Keenan himself recently put up a video about his worm guard:

Here it is:

Also of important note, when Buchecha passed the worm guard Keenan had in fact let go of the far side lapel lasso and switched to the inside lapel for some reason. I am not sure why. Buchecha used the power of his hip thrust to kick back and break the grip as he was free to go to his left side since Keenan had left that door open for him (the Buchecha/Keenan match shows  this at around the 11:10 second mark, which is super hard to see and must be done in slow motion to see the grip break before he passed)

This is mainly opinion-based analysis from what has been provided so far so again, feel free to let us know your thoughts below in the comments section..

Thank you