lapel guard

Lapel Guard 101

What is a Lapel Guard?

Lapel guard is a highly effective guard used in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) that involves using your opponent’s gi lapel for control and leverage. It’s a relatively new technique that has been gaining popularity in recent years, thanks to the innovative style of some of BJJ’s top competitors, such as Keenan Cornelius and the Miyaos.

The lapel guard BJJ is an open guard initiated when you grab your opponent’s collar and feed it behind their back. This lapel placement creates a hinge point that allows you to control your opponent’s upper body and manipulate their movements and positioning to your advantage.

Its ability to control larger opponents and create various opportunities for submission and sweeps makes it a valuable addition to any grappler’s arsenal. However, it should be used cautiously and only by those with a solid foundation in fundamental BJJ techniques.

Benefits of the Lapel Guard

This BJJ guard is a popular technique in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that has numerous benefits for practitioners of all levels. This article will explore the advantages of utilizing this guard in your BJJ game.

One of the most significant benefits of the lapel guard is its ability to assist in controlling larger opponents. As mentioned, the lapel guard relies on leverage and technique rather than brute strength to control your opponent’s upper body. This means that even smaller grapplers can effectively use this technique to manipulate their opponent’s movements and positioning.

Another advantage of this guard is its versatility. The lapel guard allows various sweeps, scrambles, and submissions by manipulating your opponent’s movements and positioning. This variety of options keeps your opponent guessing and forces them to constantly defend against different attacks, which can tire them out physically and mentally.

In addition, this guard also opens up a plethora of submission options. From chokes to joint locks, the lapel guard allows for an arsenal of submission attacks, which can virtually come from any angle. This means that you can effectively attack your opponent from a position of strength, and the more you master this technique, the more multifaceted your attack strategy will be.

The lapel guard is a valuable technique that can help practitioners of all levels to enhance their BJJ game. With its ability to control larger opponents, versatility, and potential for submissions, the lapel guard is a technique that every BJJ practitioner should consider incorporating into their training regimen.

Setting Up the Lapel Guard

Setting up the lapel guard is an essential aspect of your BJJ game, and it can be a highly effective tool to control your opponent and even secure submission finishes. The lapel guard relies on using your opponent’s lapel as a grip to control their upper body movements and set up sweeps and submissions. 

The first step in setting up the lapel guard is getting a good grip on your opponent’s lapel. Depending on your preference and body type, there are a few ways to grip the lapel. For example, if you have longer arms, you may prefer to grip the lapel further down toward your opponent’s hip. On the other hand, if you have shorter arms, you may choose to engage higher up towards your opponent’s chest.

Once you’ve established a grip on the lapel, you can start manipulating your opponent’s movement and positioning. One approach is to use your opposite hand to grab your opponent’s wrist or sleeve while using your lapel grip to control their collar. This creates a strong control over their upper body, allowing you to dictate their movements and create openings for sweeps and submissions.

Another way to set up the lapel guard is to use your opponent’s movements to your advantage. For example, if your opponent stands up while you’re on your back, you can use your lapel grip to pull them towards you, forcing them to maintain their balance as they adjust their weight. This creates an opportunity for you to attack with a sweep or submission.

In addition, it’s essential to be aware of your training partner’s reactions and adjust your lapel grip accordingly. If you notice that your opponent is defending your lapel grip by tucking their chin or flaring their elbow out, you can change your grip to control their movements differently.

Setting up the lapel guard requires a combination of technique, strategy, and awareness. By establishing a solid lapel grip, manipulating your opponent’s movement, and adapting to their reactions, you can effectively use the lapel guard to control your opponent and create opportunities for sweeps and submissions.

Submissions from the Lapel Guard Position

The lapel guard position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a powerful and versatile position that can control, sweep and submit an opponent. Using lapel grips can make it difficult for your opponent to posture up, creating opportunities for you to launch attacks from various angles. The submission is one of the most effective attacking options from the lapel guard position.

One submission technique commonly used from the lapel guard is the Lapel Choke. This choke involves wrapping the lapel around your opponent’s neck and using it to apply pressure from a seated position. To execute the lapel choke:

  1. Control one end of your opponent’s lapel and feed it under their opposite arm to the other hand.
  2. Secure the lapel with your other hand and feed it under the same arm.
  3. Pull on the lapel to create pressure on your opponent’s neck, using your legs and hips to create leverage.

Another submission from the lapel guard is the Triangle Choke. This submission is executed by securing the opponent’s lapel while trapping their head and arm between your legs, creating a triangle. Once in position, use the lapel to tighten the hold as you apply pressure on your opponent’s neck with your legs while pulling their arm across your body.

The Lapel Armbar is also a common submission from the lapel guard position. This technique begins by trapping your opponent’s arm with the lapel while using your other leg to control their body. From here, you can pivot on your hips to bring the arm across your body and secure the armbar.

The lapel guard position offers BJJ practitioners a wide range of submission options. Whether you prefer to set up chokes, armbars, or other techniques, the lapel guard can help you control and submit your opponent from various angles. Remember always to maintain control of the lapel, use your legs to create leverage, and remain patient as you set up your submissions from this powerful position.

Practicing the lapel guard can improve your overall BJJ skills. The intricate and detailed movements required to execute the lapel guard require high skill and practice. As you continue to train and master this technique, you will improve your ability to move fluidly on the ground, enhance your defensive awareness, and sharpen your ability to execute different attacks and submissions.

If you’re looking for a place to learn this popular guard, among many others, visit us at Granite Bay Jiu Jitsu! Our expert instructors would love to meet you. Click here to sign up for a free week with us!