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Using Lapel Guard to Set Up the Omoplata (BJJ Tutorial)

Updated on April 1, 2016
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Andrew Smith is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs the BJJ Tutorial Encyclopedia here.

The next step

Previously, we examined a way to set up lapel guard (and then finish the triangle choke). We'll take a quick recap on the overall objective of the triangle set up here (why to go for it and why it works), and then take a look at an extremely viable second option. Still, this only represents the tip of the iceberg with lapel and worm guard possibilities. Nevertheless, it's enough to get you started working on the position and exploring your own possibilities. Prepare yourself to enter a nasty web of possibilities from the guard, frustrating, sweeping, and ultimately submitting your opponent!

Option 1: posture control, triangle

If you need more details on how to set up the lapel guard, be sure to check out this previous lapel guard tutorial. Once you've got lapel guard set up, your next move is to try to control the collar (cross collar grip) with your left hand. If you can't grab the collar, you'll need to move on to the next option (omoplata is ideal first). However, assuming you can grab the collar and control your partner's posture, you next need to swim inside of their biceps on their right arm, breaking whatever grip they might have on your pants or jacket in the process. Once you have freed your left foot and have inside control, you can now jump over for the triangle set up. Basic triangle finishes will ensue, depending on what kind of resistance your opponent gives you. You'll need to release the lapel grip just as you jump for the triangle.

Option 2: omoplata

In this next super common option, your partner has still presented their left foot forward, enabling you to set up lapel guard as previously described. However, this time, your partner decides to posture up by avoiding the initial collar grab. Perhaps they know the triangle is coming, or maybe they just intuitively know that standing upright is better for them here. Here's your opportunity to transition. All you really need now is a cross grip on their left sleeve. If this doesn't immediately present itself, it generally will as they reach for your pants leg in order to attempt to pass (or your lapel!). Once you've secured the grip, it's just a matter of separating their arm from their body, and then opening up your hip by kicking your right leg out and around, like a helicopter kneebar. From here, you're in a pretty traditional omoplata position, ready to kick your partner forward to finish the standing sweep. Additionally, you've still got the lapel threaded through both your leg and theirs!

Bonus: finish options

Once you've kicked your partner forward, here are a couple of options that will allow you to secure a more dominant position or submission. There are more advanced leglock options, including a nasty toe hold, but the first, most basic thing to do is simply to toss the lapel aside and come up on top in a switched hip side control. Additionally, you can re-roll through for an additional omoplata attempt. Just reach back through your legs to hook their elbow, keeping the arm trapped as you roll all the way back to the omoplata position. The big difference between here and the original position is that this time, your partner is down on their knees after the roll, making the omoplata considerably easier to finish without a roll through.

Lapel guard or worm guard?

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Modern BJJ

Although a solid focus on fundamental jiu jitsu is heartily recommended, particularly for the first three or four years of your jiu jitsu career, it's also a great idea to have some fun with BJJ and to take a look at some modern sport BJJ positions, even if you don't have any interest in competing. These positions can give you a renewed interest in training and can make rolling even more fun, and if you do compete, lapel guard in particular, and all modern BJJ, can be a huge asset over those who aren't "hip" to today's trends. If you've enjoyed this tutorial or are able to hit any of the moves from it, please let us know!

About the author
Andrew Smith teaches gi and no-gi seminars across the country. Check out hisschedule of upcoming seminars and bio here. If you're interested in booking Andrew for a seminar, email him here.


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