GB Student Question: “How do I pass the Lasso Guard?”

An experienced purple belt is having difficulty passing the Lasso guard and asked:
“Can you recommend a lasso guard pass?   Other than not letting my opponent get the guard in the first place.
I’ve been trying to force a pass while tied up and have got pretty frustrated.”
This Jiu-Jitsu student is not alone. The Lasso Guard is a very strong defensive and offensive guard when the guard player can secure the Lasso grip.
Before we seek to solve the mystery of the Lasso Guard, let’s have a quick look at what is probably the primary sweep technique from this position.
The Lasso Guard Sweep

The Lasso grip provides a very powerful leverage for the guard player when the passer attempts to pass to the OPPOSITE side of the hook. This sets up the timing and opening for the sweep.
There are 3 pieces of advice that we can look at to pass the Lasso Guard (and importantly, pass most styles of open guard). These principles may be applied to many guard passing situations.
1) Deny the Lasso grip. The answer to many a student’s bjj question is “Don’t get there in the first place!” While this might be a seemingly unhelpful answer, it is actually very true in many situations. Once the opponent has sunk a deep Lasso grip, it can be very difficult to break their grip. If we are aware that our opponent is seeking that grip, deny them what they want in the first place. Don’t even let them get started!
2) Break the grip! This is an essential principle for guard passing in general. If we look at it most simply – the guard player is using their Lasso grip to get control of the passer. If they lose the Lasso grip…then they no longer have the control that they need right? Instead of trying to force your way past the opponents guard when they are controlling you with a Lasso grip: pause, get your base and posture, break that Lasso grip and look to return to a neutral starting point position to pass. Sometimes we need to be patient and wait for the right conditions before passing. Eliminating that problem grip is most important.
3) Develop specific Lasso passes. Specific guards each possess their own strengths and weaknesses. The Lasso guard is very strong on one side (as we saw in the Lasso sweep video), but much weaker on the same side as the Lasso grip. The passer in video #2 takes advantage of this knowledge to pass to the weaker side. There are a number of specific Lasso Guard passes you can learn and your instructor is the best resource for the details.
How to pass Lasso Guard

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Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia