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Using The Lapels From Closed Guard

Using The Lapels From Closed Guard


The gi can be an advantageous tool that we learn how to utilize.  Many people love training in the gi and then there are some who would prefer no gi.  Sometimes the lapels can become a nuisance, but if we learn how to use them properly, they can actually help us to develop complex and effective bjj.  Some people are infamous for playing guard that involve serious complexity and a lot of lapel.  You are probably familiar with the creator of the worm guard, Keenan Cornelius. 

Keenan is famous for his crazy lapel methods and he is always innovating the game with how he uses the lapels.  That being said, there are much simpler methods to use the lapel.  When we are discussing the closed guard, we don’t often associate lapels with many of the techniques that one would use from there.  We think of traditional sweeps and submissions from the closed guard like the arm bar, triangle, kimura, and scissor sweep.  These are all excellent attacks and they have been proven effective time and time again.

That being said, there is no reason to shy away from using the lapels in the closed guard.  It can be one of the best places to start setting up lapel guards and taking advantage of the lapels.  There are so many combinations of moves from the closed guard when you learn to use the lapels.  There are certain chokes that you will be able to do, sweeps, and other submission set ups.  Today we are going to look at some of the tricks you can use the lapels for and some basics.

Cross Collar Grip From Closed Guard

The cross-collar grip can be your best friend in the closed guard.  This is because you can use it for so many different things.  For example, you can use the cross collar as a great method breaking down your opponent’s posture.  You can also use it to set up submissions and attacks.   People often under utilize the collar grips and they try and use head control and other things.  When we are discussing the lapels, people assume that it is going to make things complicated but to get a cross-collar grip, you will be able to keep great control of their posture.

If you have ever rolled with someone and had them grab a very deep collar grip, then you probably know how annoying it is.  This grip can make it impossible to stand, move, and do anything.  If you allow them to get deeper they can start to set up the dreaded cross choke, this is one of the best chokes from the closed guard.  The cross choke is best when the first cross collar grip is extremely tight.  It will make everything easier.

Another great position that utilizes the cross collar grip is the good old scissor sweep.  When you do a scissor sweep with the cross collar you will use the grip to break their posture and come up on top.  The cross collar is also very important if your opponent stands up.  You want to be able to break their posture with it.  The grip should feel like your opponent has a kettlebell attached to their neck.  You really want to control the posture.  Check out this video with Rhalan Gracie on some unorthodox collar grips that you can also use from the closed guard.

Collar Grips For Submissions from Closed Guard

Whenever you are in the closed guard it is rarely a bad idea to grab one of the lapels and hold on tight.  Keep your elbow tight and your forearm facing you.  These subtle details to a grip will make your grip so much more powerful and it will be very difficult for your opponent to break the grips.

Whenever you are using some type of collar grip you will be able to start doing a bunch of submissions with it.  Obviously with the lapel we will be able to do attacks like collar choke, loop choke, and bow and arrow choke.  What about the more traditional submissions?  Can the collar grips aide us when we are performing arm bars, triangles, and other old school subs?  Yes!  You can use the cross-collar grip or any collar grip to start creating angles and as a leverage point.

One of the best arm bars from the closed guard starts with the cross collar. This is because your opponent wants to pull away as you arm bar and if you have the collar grip they can’t distance themselves from you.  The triangle is also one of the best submissions with a collar grip.  Check out this awesome set up for the triangle below with the lapel grip.

If you want to develop a more dynamic and dangerous closed guard, check out 5x Black Belt World Champion, Bernardo Faria’s DVD set “The Closed Guard.”  This DVD is also available as a digital download.  It is one of our best-selling products and it is for good reason.  Many people like the fact that Bernardo makes learning easy and all of his techniques are simple to use.  His ideal student is between the ages of 30-50 and has difficulties doing the more athletic and elusive bjj moves. Check out it out below.


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