In the ever-evolving world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, new techniques and guards continually emerge, each adding its unique flavor to the art. One such innovation that has gained significant traction is the Worm Guard. Created by Keenan Cornelius, a renowned BJJ black belt, the Worm Guard is a modern open guard that has revolutionized the competitive scene. At Southern Soul Academy, we love exploring these cutting-edge techniques to help our students stay ahead of the curve and add new dimensions to their game.

What is the Worm Guard?

The Worm Guard is an advanced form of lapel guard that uses your opponent’s lapel to control their movements and set up sweeps, submissions, and transitions. The essence of the Worm Guard lies in entangling your opponent’s leg with their lapel, creating a web of control that can be difficult to escape.

Setting Up the Guard

To set up the Worm Guard, follow these steps:

  1. Lapels Ready: Start from a position where you can access your opponent’s lapel. This could be from De La Riva guard or another open guard variation.
  2. Feed the Lapel: Once you have the lapel, feed it under your opponent’s leg and into your far hand. This hand typically holds the lapel across your opponent’s thigh.
  3. Secure the Position: With the lapel secure, use your other hand to control your opponent’s sleeve or collar, and adjust your leg position to maintain control and balance.

Why Worm Guard?

The Worm Guard offers several benefits, especially in a competitive setting:

  • Unpredictability: Because it’s a relatively new technique, many opponents are less familiar with the defenses against it, giving you an edge.
  • Control: The lapel grip provides a strong means of controlling your opponent’s posture and movement, making it easier to execute sweeps and transitions.
  • Versatility: From the Worm Guard, you can transition into other forms of lapel guards or set up submissions, such as the triangle or omoplata.

Common Attacks from the Guard

  1. Worm Guard Sweep: By leveraging the lapel and your legs, you can off-balance your opponent and execute a sweep to gain a dominant position.
  2. Back Take: Using the control provided by the lapel, you can maneuver around your opponent to take their back, a highly advantageous position.
  3. Triangle Choke: With the lapel controlling their posture, you can set up a triangle choke, using your legs to secure the submission.

Learning the Worm Guard

At Southern Soul Academy, we incorporate innovative techniques like the Worm Guard into our curriculum to ensure our students are well-rounded and prepared for all scenarios. While the Worm Guard can be complex and may require time to master, our experienced instructors break down the technique step-by-step, ensuring everyone, from beginners to advanced practitioners, can integrate it into their game.


The Worm Guard is more than just a trendy new technique; it’s a testament to the ever-evolving nature of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Whether you’re a competitor looking for an edge or a hobbyist eager to expand your knowledge, the Worm Guard offers a challenging and rewarding addition to your BJJ repertoire.

Come join us at Southern Soul Academy to explore the Worm Guard and other exciting techniques. Our welcoming, community-driven environment ensures you’ll have the support and guidance you need to unlock your full potential on and off the mats.

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