Lasso Guard BJJ Tutorial: Setting Up Triangles and Omoplatas
The lasso guard is one of the most perplexing and irritating types of guard to find oneself in. I remember vividly being a blue belt in 2002 or thereabouts and being caught in a good lasso guard, thinking I could just pass, then being frustrated when my arm was still stuck. Lather, rinse, and repeat for the next few years as I approached purple and even brown belt. Two excellent attacks from lasso guard are the triangle and omoplata. Use your opponent's frustration and confusion to catch them in a quick submission or set up a sweep! Let's get started.
Option 1: the spinning omoplata
This first option starts once you've established a strong, deep lasso hook. From here, keeping double sleeve control, you can start by passing your right foot across your partner's right hip, using your shin across their waist to make space (let's assume the person is on their knees, at least in order to get started with this technique). Next, step on the floor with your right foot (to the left of your opponent's legs), so that you can build your base up and put your butt up in the air. Finally, you just need to roll through to finish setting up the omoplata. Having double sleeve control here makes it tough for your partner to crossface you. As soon as you roll through, make sure to lift your left arm up over your partner's body, keeping them from hopping over to escape the submission.
Option 2: simple lasso triangle
This option is beautiful in its simplicity. Start with the same double sleeve grips, and establish that same basic deep lasso hook (note: shallow hooks are useful for the "harpoon sweep" and for some other scenarios, but we want to avoid them here). Keeping your right foot in your partner's biceps, stretch your leg out so that your partner's arm is completely locked out away from you, unable to close the distance. Now let go of the sleeve, and get a cross collar grip. This will help to control your partner's posture. When you're ready, let go of the other sleeve with your left hand, and then grab their elbow and triceps with your left hand, making a frame of sorts. Be sure to keep your left elbow in, blocking your partner's ability to swim back inside! Now just shoot your left leg through, and then jump up and over with your right foot. The triangle is inevitable.
Option 3: simple omoplata
Similarly, the omoplata can be a ridiculously easy transition from the same lasso guard with the cross collar grip. Starting just like you want to hit the triangle from the last technique, this time, right after you shoot your left leg through, instead of jumping the right leg over the biceps, just push off of the biceps to pivot into prime omoplata territory. Note: if you can't get the foot on the biceps, you can still do this technique, although it's far easier if you have inside control with your knee inside their arm, along with your foot on their hip. This will keep them from closing the distance, and allow you to pivot much easier. As before, when you're making the transition between the sleeve control and the elbow/triceps control, be sure to make this transition relatively quickly, and once you're there, be sure to keep your left elbow inside. If you get nothing else from this technique, remember that inside control is the name of the game!
That's a wrap (of the arm)
Lasso guard will offer you many more opportunities to explore and find your own versions of these techniques, along with entries into moves we haven't explored yet. Additionally, you can keep a very good guard passer inside your guard for far longer by incorporating some of the lasso guard concepts. If nothing else, your opponent will have a harder time passing away from the lasso hooks, which can make the rest of their passing considerably more predictable and easy to manage.