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How to Set Up a Mounted Triangle Using the Lapel (a BJJ Tutorial)

Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.


Triangles From Side, With or Without the Lapel

The triangle choke from side control has become one of my all-time favorite submissions. I've obviously got a Kimura-centric game, but from side control, there are few more satisfying submissions to hit than the triangle, and especially if you can manage to stay on top for the finish. However, isolating the far arm can present a few problems, especially once your opponent or partner knows you might be going for the triangle.

Daniel Frank shows some nice variations here that involve trapping the arm using the lapel, along with some excellent details for getting the finish and some basic troubleshooting.

The Basic Triangle Mechanics, Without the Lapel Trap

This video starts with the basic concepts of the mounted triangle. If you haven't already done so, you might want to check out the side control triangle tutorial, where this idea is expanded on in considerable detail (although you don't absolutely need to). Either way, the main concept is simply to be over one arm and under the other with your legs (duh?), but getting there from side can present some additional challenges. Start by isolating the inside arm (the way Daniel does it here is with a "windshield wiper" leg scrape, making sure that his partner's right arm is isolated in between his knee and armpit.

Next, it's time to isolate the far arm, so Daniel simply pins his partner's wrist to his chest. The great thing about this particular pinning position for jumping over for the triangle is that you don't even have to fully clear your partner's hand in order to get the choke. Here, Daniel shows the armbar and triangle finish from the top, along with finishing the triangle from the bottom (after your opponent rolls you).

Using the Lapel Two Ways

This next move starts essentially the same way, typically with double defensive frames. Once the inside arm is isolated, just like before, reach over for your partner's far side lapel. Make sure to untuck the lapel, if it isn't already untucked, and then pull the lapel out and away at 45 degrees (the main idea here is to get your partner's lapel out from underneath their body).

Once you have the lapel untucked, use it to trap your partner's far side (left) arm by passing it over their forearm. This pins their arm to their chest very effectively. Now, either throw your right leg over for the triangle (as before), or use the second variation, where you pass the lapel over to the other side, and then punch it to their stomach. Either way, you've got a mounted triangle to work from, looking to get perpendicular to finish the choke (or switch to the armbar, as before).

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Another Look

Here's a second look at the same technique. Once again, the steps are very easy to understand, and they go in a specific order:

  1. Start by isolating the inside arm (windshield wiper works best whenever defensive frames are employed).
  2. Untuck the lapel, making sure to punch out at 45 degrees to both remove the slack and to get it out from underneath your partner.
  3. Trap the wrist with the lapel by crossing the lapel across your partner's forearm, feeding to the hand that's under their head.
  4. Step over for the triangle, or switch grips and then step over.
  5. Finish the triangle from top, finish the armbar from top, or allow your partner to roll you over and finish the triangle from bottom (or one of these 8 alternative triangle finishes).

The Mounted Triangle

Try to get accustomed to setting up the triangle from side control without the use of the gi (you can try it in no-gi training first if you'd like). Once you understand the basic mechanics, try adding the gi against more stubborn opponents and partners.

You'll also discover many other attacks (my favorite is the baseball choke) once you have your partner's wrist trapped to their chest. Have fun, and please don't be afraid to experiment!

© 2016 Andrew Smith


Andrew Smith (author) from Richmond, VA on June 30, 2016:

Let me know if it works well for you, Ryan!

Ryan B on June 29, 2016:

Sweet. Going to train this for sure. Then use it.

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