Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.
Passing Lasso Guard
"Lasso guard" is an annoying (from the top person's perspective) guard to have to deal with and pass. There are omoplata and triangle setups, sweep options, and smooth transitions to other types of guard available at virtually every turn, and passing can be incredibly challenging.
One of the first steps in passing lasso guard is to define whether it's a shallow or deep lasso hook. If the foot is curled in close to your triceps and is constantly biting on your biceps, that's a shallow hook. If, on the other hand, the person on bottom opts to shoot their leg through to your back, this is a "deep lasso hook."
This tutorial deals with passing the deep lasso hook. In future tutorials, we'll cover the shallow hook and more. Let's get started!
Start With the Simple Options
By far the easiest way to deal with a deep lasso hook is to simply circle your hand free. Start by anchoring your other hand on the inside of your partner's knee, though, so that you have inside control on the other side (if your partner allows you to do so). If your right hand is trapped by your partner's left-leg lasso, fold your right wrist in half (or as close to "in half" as your wrist naturally bends) and then leading with a counter-clockwise circle with your wrist, following with your arm. In the video, I make a point of pointing my palm to the ceiling, so that you can see how the rotation works.
Sometimes, it's your lucky day and your partner's grip will break during this transition. If not, just walk your hand up like a spider, one step at a time, eventually outstripping your partner's ability to follow you by holding on. Once you've broken the grip, immediately go to inside control with your left arm (post on their hip) and follow up with an X-pass.
If You Ain't Cheating, You Ain't Trying to Win
Starting with the same palm-circle motion, sometimes you're just not going to be able to even circle over to the other side of your partner's knee, assuming they have a death grip on your sleeve. A nice addition to the palm circle is to bring your left knee over (as shown in the video) to assist your palm and help push it over and around. This simple adjustment has helped me get free of many a stubborn grip.
Once again, when you're free of the grip, take inside control and proceed with an X-pass (or any other open guard pass you're extremely comfortable with), taking care not to walk straight into an unfamiliar or uncomfortable type of guard, as the hard work should be done.
Still Got That Grip?
In a similar fashion, you can get inside control on the non-lasso side by pinning your partner's thigh to create tension and then circling inside (you can use this on a more traditional biceps-spider guard as well). If, after completing your palm circle, your partner is still gripping your sleeve, note that this isn't quite a "leg lasso" position, but rather a sort of "shin in biceps" position.
Your partner still has sweep options from here, so don't ignore this hook, but rather, proceed as before up to a point; don't finish the pass right away, because you won't be clear of the hook! Instead, walk back into your partner's half guard, and then pass extremely low to the ground, never giving your partner the option to elevate you and recover guard or sweep. Sometimes your partner will abandon their hook while you're in half guard, so be sure you are ready to transition into your preferred half-guard passing sequence.
Lasso guard has been one of my more irritating types of guard to pass, so when I started learning or figuring out how to do these passes, I was pretty stoked. It all starts with defining whether it's a shallow or a deep lasso hook and then going from there. Try these passes out, and, as always, let me know how they work for you!
© 2015 Andrew Smith
Wieslawa Olkowska on November 28, 2015:
Very good article , congratulations.