Worm Guard 101

Worm Guard 101

Keenan Cornelius is unquestionably one of the most talented grapplers of the new generation. His work with different guards and creative approach left quite a mark on bjj and will do so in the time to come.

For Keenan the guard comes down to the Lapel – figuring out how it helps control the other guy. BJJ is all about control hence why this guard comes in handy.

Here’s where pushing on a sleeve won’t help you, pulling and extending will provide you the leverage to extend someone but pushing will seldom give you results you could capitalize on.

Lapel is unique, in Keenan’s mind, because grabbing on it will make someone’s body rotate. Now this is really important.

Why? Well if you’ve ever tried to pass or had someone try to pass your guard to your bad side it’s quite difficult. Most people have difficulty. This is why controlling someone via lapel can be very beneficial.

Lapel controls the diagonal.


Now the very basic worm guard setup can work from all guards except the closed guard.

This is why Keenan Cornelius recommends not pulling guard in a typical leg on hip way. With the lapel you just sit in the long run it’s safer. There’s also enough distance that someone won’t be able to ankle pick you easily.

You bring the lapel to the outside of your leg.


and from there you swing into grabbing it like this:

View post on imgur.com

It’s quite important to take the lapel higher than the ankle of the foot currently on the hip of the opponent.

Once you’ve made sure that’s how your grabbing you can just stick back.


This puts a lot of pressure on the opponent’s posture. One potential relief from pressure is going for a knee slice but Keenan considers worm guard virtually impenetrable with knee slides.


Of course there are always counters and things you could do to mitigate some of the pressure. For more on that check out the link below.

3 Best Ways To Defend & Counter The Worm Guard


And of course you can watch the entire Keenan clip by pressing play below