Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.
Deep Lasso Problems
Often times, you'll encounter a training partner (or opponent) who is not only technical enough to understand the basic uses of a deeper "leg lasso," but who also happens to have super strong grips that are nearly impossible to break. What follows is a different approach to eventually breaking their grip, ending with you on top in a very dominant half guard position, ultimately bypassing the biggest threats from the lasso before passing your partner's guard. This is for everyone who has struggled with an unbreakable grip from the lasso guard!
Note: this is a follow up to my previous deep leg lasso guard passing tutorial. If you haven't already seen that material, please check it out before proceeding here. First things first, make sure that you have dealt with the non-lasso hook before attempting to deal with the lasso hook.
In the video, this means pummeling for inside control from the bicep grip my partner has by using my knee to pin his hips forward and then circling, but it might be a different course of action depending on what your partner is doing.
Either way, you'd like to establish inside control on their pants first. Next up, circle to the outside as previously taught (you can use your leg as an anchor if you need to in order to circle free). The problem here is that your partner is still holding on with their ultra-mega-death grip. No problem, we're just going to hop to half guard while maintaining pressure over them (more on that to follow).
Getting Into Half Guard Properly
After partially clearing the leg lasso, you can either rush into half guard and (most likely) end up right back where you started or else you can use excellent technique and ensure that you end up in a very smashy half guard. The name of the game once you've cleared the grip is to control your partner's inside leg, not allowing them to slide their knee back through the middle in order to recover full guard (or any other type of open guard besides half guard).
First, using the controlling grips described above, take a step over your partner's right leg. Now, step back to your right, heading into your opponent's lasso hook (or what's left of their leg lasso, really). Use your left knee to scrape and slide their leg back to the center, taking care not to allow them to slide that knee back through the middle. Once you're on top in half guard, stay heavy and center your weight to your partner's right side, taking special care not to be off balanced over top of them. Finally, continue to circle your hand free until your partner either let's go to transition to another position, or their grip breaks due to their range of motion being exceeded (or they just get tired and let go).
Putting It All Together
Your initial starting movements are just the same as you'd deal with any deep leg lasso situation. You're starting with the inside control on the non-lasso grip, then attempting to circle your lasso hand (right hand in the video) free. When you encounter resistance to getting your lasso hand free, you simply segue into the half guard smash version of the pass. Step over their leg, then bring their leg back to center once you have it trapped in between your legs.
From here, your right hand can cup their hip and make it very difficult for them to regain any sort of lasso control. Once in the half guard, the last piece of the puzzle is to establish a dominant crossface if possible, then just work your leg free as possible (or switch your hips over the top to start your favorite Kimura sequence from half guard top).
Leg lasso can be one of the most frustrating types of guard to pass in the gi. The best way to understand how to pass any type of guard is to study the guard itself, so make sure you're playing with the leg lasso a great deal first so that you can know just what the vulnerabilities of the top person are.
As always, have fun with the new techniques once you start experimenting with them, and if you can spend a few rounds drilling them, the repetitions will serve you well when it comes time to execute them against a resisting opponent.