Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) instructors at the Breakaway Studio at Hampton Roads not only compete in tournaments to keep an edge on their skills, but they also continue to advance their training by learning new techniques.
Recently, we started teaching our Advanced Class a new BJJ move called Worm Guard. Keenan Cornelius developed the Worm Guard technique. Cornelius is originally from Hawaii but is now living in San Diego, California, and he’s one of the best practitioners in BJJ today. He is also the “Grand Slam” champion of double golds in four major tournaments.
In 2014 Cornelius created Worm Guard, a unique Gi guard system. The move was aptly named by Andre Galvao, Cornelius’s former coach. When asked to describe the system, he said that it was like fighting a worm. The most basic description of this grappling position is wrapping the opponent’s lapel around your leg and passing it underneath the opponent, then gripping it with your opposite hand. The leverage of this control severely restricts the opponent’s movement, and it also leaves one hand and one foot free for additional attacks. Worm Guard is much more complicated than this sounds. The instructors at Breakaway attended a seminar with Cornelius to learn it from the expert. The specialized training is now being passed on to Breakaway students.
Using lapel guards during a competition has been done previously, but the Worm Guard control was first used at the 2014 Pan American Championships. Cornelius was fighting Murilo Santana (medium heavyweight division) in the quarter-finals. The move was still in development, but Cornelius felt that he had no better options than to try it on Santana. It turned out to be a good strategy that earned him the win.
Cornelius went on to use Worm Guard to win the World Jiu Jitsu Championship, the European Open Championship, and the Brazilian National Jiu Jitsu Championship that same year. When other competitors started trying to create the same type of position, the Copa Podio (a respected Jiu Jitsu promotion), tried to stop its use for fear of slowing the pace of the matches and affecting the pay-per-view earnings. The overwhelmingly negative reaction from fans about that decision caused a rule change just to limit the time allowed for holding a position instead. Since most promotions have a similar rule, it seemed more than fair.
BJJ can be mastered by anyone, regardless of age or size, and is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. Give us a call at Breakaway Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to try a free class.