Lapeloplatas, Feet on Lapel Spider Guards, & Other Gi BJJ Tricks


My friend Ostap Manastyrski and I recently shot a video about the evolving trend in the competitive Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world that involves playing with the lapels of your opponent.

People are now doing spider guard on the lapels, attacking with omoplata-style movements against the lapels, and developing all kinds of new gi-based tricks and strategies to manipulate and off balance their opponents from the bottom.

As we say in the video, we’re not sure if this is a good thing or not.  But like it or not, it IS a very real trend, so if you compete you need to be aware that it’s going on…

If you’re interested in finding out more about this lapel-based play in BJJ competition first watch the video below.  Then, if you want more, continue to scroll down and check out some of the other instructional and competition clips we found for you showing these concepts in action.

We didn’t shoot the following video but it’s still informative!  Here’s Osvaldo Augusto Queixinho teaching a step by step breakdown of the lapeloplata.  FYI Queixinho also appears in the final competition clip at the bottom of this page.

The next video is a cool variation of the lapeloplata you can use where you don’t quite manage to knock him all the way forward.  Instead of finishing it the normal way you use the room you created to scoot through his legs and get to a dominant position via a different route.

Here are a few other recent instances of lapel grips…

In the following clip Keenan Cornelius latches onto Jackson Souza’s loose lapel with both hands almost immediately, then determinedly hangs onto it while using the spider guard and inverted guard to fend off Souza until landing a berimbolo sweep from de la Riva guard at about 5 minutes into the video.

In the following match Rafael Mendes feeds the Cobrinha’s lapel behind his knee to secure the de la Riva guard at the 2012 Pan Ams.  This grip heavily restrict’s Cobrinha’s movement and eventually leads to a sweep at about 4 minutes into the match.

Next up is Keenan Cornelius  vs Roberto Tussa Alancar at the World Pro New York Trial.

Keenan spends most of this match playing with the one or both hands on the bottom of Tussa’s lapel during this match, alternating between open guard, de la Riva guard, and inverted guard, before winning by one sweep about 3 seconds before the time runs out in the match.

Here’s a highlight video from Metamoris 2 showing little segments from each match.

In the context of today’s discussion pay attention to the segment from 4:00 to 4:40 where you can see what a tangled web was woven by Braulio Estima as he worked his foot-in-and-on-the-lapel spider guard against Rodolfo Vierira

And finally here’s Quexinho vs Gui Mendes at the San Fran Open, 2013.  There is a very close lapeloplata  sweep attempt starting at about 2 minutes.

Well, there you have it.  Love ’em or hate ’em, lapeloplatas and other gi tricks are definitely part of the competitive BJJ landscape now.

I’d be interested in hearing what you think about this. Is this type of game making the art better or worse? Post your thoughts below.

Stephan Kesting

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