The rising popularity of the Worm Guard has made the Jiu-Jitsu world take notice. We can thank Keenan Cornelius for the boom in competitors utilizing this guard in competitions. Thankfully we are finally starting to see some technique videos popping up showing how to prevent, pass, and even counter this tricky guard. I am a firm believer that you don't have to be a fan of any particular guard but it is important to understand it enough to be able to defend against it. That being said, studying the offensive side of this guard will help you understand defense even more than just working on the counters.
While that quote is so true...in the event that you DO ALLOW your opponent to establish the lapel control they need to set up the worm guard you need to be familiar with methods to regain that lapel control and focus on passing the guard.
Isaac Doederlein, Cobrinha brown belt, shows a really cool way to neutralize the Worm Guard and turn it into a back-tack opportunity.
(Link for mobile users: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2bM1GksF94)
Here, multi-time World Champion Rodolfo Vieira shows how to pass the worm guard with a pressure pass type of approach.
(Link for mobile users: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6dUxlhbO_8)
I would be remiss to not post BJJ Scout's videos here. He does some excellent work! There are a variety of counters and concepts in these two videos.
(Link for mobile users: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYkqZkxv_ZA)
(Link for mobile users: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSh0OfdSkWE)
I have found that the worm guard is 100% dependent on lapel grip control. Because of this it seems that the most effective way (at least for me) to defend against it is to address the grips. This is particularly true if the grips have been established and your base has been compromised or threatened...they have progressed if you will deep into the guard. I have spent more time playing with the offensive side of this guard but recently started working on defense/counters. My advice so far is:
1. Defend the lapel!
2. In the event the lapel control is established...focus on your base!
3. Try and square up to your opponent as much as possible to eliminate the angle they need to sweep
4. Dominate/control their own lapel and use it against them to remove THEIR grip on your lapel.