Keenan Cornelius Discuss the Origins & Evolution of the Worm Guard

With the release of Keenan's gargantuan lapel instructional/encyclopedia, we figured it would be fitting to review the origin story of the worm guard.

As it turns out, Keenan didn't have some unhealthy obsession with dangling pieces of fabric from an early age– instead, the worm guard began with one monster training partner who demolished Keenan's traditional gripping game. 

Read on to find out how Keenan's experimentation born of survival instinct led to one of the most confounding positions in modern jiu-jitsu. 

Keenan playing his trademark lapel game vs Mahamed Aly at the 2018 IBJJF Pans.

(All Text Is Directly taken from A Fistful of Collars Episode featuring Keenan Cornelius.  Relative conversation begins at 32:14) 

Worm Guard: the Early Days

Words from Keenan Cornelius

"[JT Torres'] grips are crazy strong. So eventually, because you can't grip anything else on him, I grabbed the last thing that was there is: the lower lapel. So I started having to grab that to have any sort of control against him to survive longer. It was the one grip that he couldn't take away from me. So using that, I was like, ‘I can do stuff with this.’ So I'd start with like foot in the lapel, like a spider guard hook, but there's not really a lot of attacks from there. Braulio calls that like Galaxy guard. But there's not a lot you can do but hold on.

"JT actually banned me from doing that. He said I wasn't allowed to do the foot in the lapel against him in training. Which is good though because there's really no attacks from there. It just stalls the position. So from that, I started to work a little more; the Worm guard, before it was Worm guard, I called it the Marionette guard. Like a puppeteering thing. I wasn't really puppeteering anyone." 

 

"But I started playing with the lapel back then in like 2012, 2011. So I started building on it over time. And then only once I went to Atos, I used the lapel on those guys. And they had no idea what to do. And it was suddenly much more effective than it was against JT.

"I was like, 'wait a second. JT only beats this stuff because he's been there for every step of the way;. But all these other guys don't know anything about it. So then I was like, maybe I can do something with this.'

"So if you watch my purple and brown belt matches, I never touch the lapel once, but in training, that's all I was doing. So like purple and brown belt, I was beating everyone, but I was beating them all with just more traditional jiu-jitsu." 

On the Evolution of the Worm


Keenan employs the squid guard against Leandro at the 2018 Pan Championships.

"It's sort of expanded into like three trees. Which is like the Worm guard positions, which is reverse De La Worm guard, rear Worm guard, and Worm guard. And then Squid guard which is like kind of a style like what Cobrinha and Satoshi were doing for a little while. But Cobrinha stopped doing it. Satoshi used it a little differently."

Keenan Cornelius vs Inacio Neto 2018 IBJJF Worlds (Worm Extravaganza)

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


Kennedy Maciel vs Marcio Andre Headlines Fight 2 Win 118

null

Fight 2 Win is back to their usual format this Saturday, July 20 in Minneapolis, Minnesota with a men’s 160lb black belt gi main event between Kennedy Maciel (Alliance) and Marcio Andre (Gustavo Dantes).

Why A Grappling Match Between Yuri Simoes And Kyle Snyder Is A Great Idea

Two-time ADCC champion Yuri Simoes made a great suggestion last week, offering one of the politest call-outs we've seen in a long time. The Brazilian called for a grappling match between himself and Kyle Snyder, the Olympic gold medalist and World champion freestyle wrestler and one of the mightiest American wrestlers to step onto the mats. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

DeBlass Takes KASAI Pro Superfight In Front Of New Jersey Home Town Crowd

KASAI announced today that Tom DeBlass will face Andrew Tevay at KASAI Pro 6 on Saturday, August 17th at the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. 

5 Submissions, No Points Conceded: ADCC Trials Winner Meraz Avdoyan

Back in April German grappler Meraz Avdoyan won all of his matches at the ADCC 2nd European Trials by submission– and without giving up a single point. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

10th Planet Go 4-1 Versus All-Star Team at SUBVERSIV

10th Planet defended their SUBVERSIV Pro Team title 4-1 against the Red Bowie All Stars, with Geo Martinez taking a big win over Joao Miyao in the most intriguing match. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Grappling Bulletin: Jiu-Jitsu vs Wrestling & 2 Rear Naked Strangles in MMA

Start your week off right with the Grappling Bulletin. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Sunday Study: Lepri, Arges, & Liera - 3 Ways to Sweep from DLR to X-Guard

Without question, the De la Riva (DLR) guard is one of the most versatile positions in the game. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

SUBVERSIV Back With EBI Rules 5-on-5 Team Battle: 10th Planet vs All Stars

null

Two teams will face off this Saturday, July 13 in Los Angeles, California when SUBVERSIV– a Fight 2 Win production– delivers their second card. The reigning SUBVERSIV Pro Team champs, 10th Planet, are bringing five of their top competitors to meet the Red Bowie team, a conglomerate of the company’s five most successful, sponsored athletes.

Kaynan Duarte and Yuri Simoes To Face Off For First Time At KASAI Pro 6

null

KASAI have announced that Kaynan Duarte will face Yuri Simoes in the main event at 'KASAI Pro 6’ on Saturday, August 17th at the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. 

Matheus Diniz and Josh Hinger To Roll It Back At KASAI Pro 6

KASAI Elite Grappling Championships announced that Matheus Diniz will face Josh Hinger at KASAI Pro 6 on Saturday, August 17th at the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ.