In the world of BJJ, everyone knows who the Gracies are, but a lot of people are ignorant to the many other BJJ legends who helped revolutionize the sport today. While the Gracies helped lay the foundation, there are many people who built off that foundation, and today we will be talking about none other than Mauricio “Tinguinha” Mariano. Tinguinha was born in 1975 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and surfed at a young age which is where his nickname came from, because he looked a lot like famous pro surfer Tinguinha Lima.
As a young child, he attained the level of purple belt in Judo, but then he started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the “Pitoco” Academy with his brother at age 11. Once he reached the level of orange belt, he moved to the world renowned Gracie Barra gym to train under Jean Jacques Machado and Carlos Gracie Junior. Tinguinha was awarded his black belt in 1996 at the age of 21, which was rare back then. He moved to the United States in 2000 as one of the Gracie Barra instructors, but Tinguinha is well known as being the innovator of the spider guard.
The spider guard is not as well known in the MMA world since it relies on the cuff of the Gi jacket to execute, but it is widely considered one of the more advantageous open guard positions. From spider guard there are multiple variations of sweeps, submissions, and counters to gain positional, points, and a multitude of other advantages over your opponents.
The basics for the spider guard are to hold onto your opponent’s cuff of their jacket with your hands, to place your feet on their biceps, and to keep one leg extended with the other bent. You alternate which leg is straight and bent by wanting to control your opponent’s posture and to release their pressure off yourself. It is more of an advanced form of open guard and is not for everyone, but it is important to know how to defend even if you are not someone that would apply it.
Tinguinha still instructs in the sport of BJJ at his own academy in Yorba Linda, California, and the gym has grown since its beginning in 2003. In training himself, TInguinha has achieved the rank of fourth degree black belt, and he has multiple affiliate schools around the country. He is also dedicated in spreading the word of martial arts to the general population. This can be seen with his helping run the whole BJJ program for the relatively new UFC GYM academies throughout the US, his whole DVD collection that teaches people about the spider guard, and his online services that help teach lessons to people around the world. These are the reasons that Mauricio “Tinguinha” Mariano is a legend of the BJJ community, and it is always important for you to know your history.