The Shoulder Lock from Full Guard in Mixed Martial Arts

The Shoulder Lock

BJJ shoulder lock in action

The full guard position is a very versatile position to be in when you are in the bottom during a mixed martial arts fight. You can either sweeps and submissions are always options and which ones to use vary depending on which position your opponent is in and what he is doing. Therefor adding more submissions to your full guard arsenal can always help.

This shoulder lock from the full guard is fast, simple and effective, a dangerous combination in a mixed martial arts submission. This submission quickly isolates one of your opponent’s arms and lock it in place with your legs. Then pressure is applied to the shoulder by using the wrist as a lever and your whole body to apply force.

Isolating an Arm

While in the full guard you need to isolate one of your opponent’s arms to attack. This is usually the arm which wonders away from a safe position close to your opponent’s body. The leg on that arm’s side is then thrown over the opponents back and the opposite leg is pulled out from its position in the full guard. The arm is held close to your body and turned backwards toward the opponent’s legs while you rotate your body towards the isolated arm side.

This part of the set up is very similar to a triangle choke. However in a triangle choke you then rotate your body towards the side of the opponent’s free arm and in this shoulder lock you rotate towards the opposite side. This means that if you quickly isolate this arm, say perhaps in a scramble  when you throw your leg over the opponent and rotate, you can use your momentum to make the finish powerful and quick.

As you throw the leg over your opponent’s back you put your foot in front of his face and use your other leg to pinch the arm. Rolling into the opponent to force his face into the ground can help hold him down securely.  Because the weight of your whole body is being forced through the shoulder of the opponent it is very difficult for him to lift himself up. This applies even if the opponent is much larger than you, making this move a good option for smaller fighters.

Torquing the Shoulder

The finish for this shoulder lock involves putting pressure on the shoulder by using the arm as a lever. As you pinch the arm between your legs you grab onto your opponent’s hand and break their wrist towards the sky. While keeping their arm tight to your body you use the power of your abdominal muscles and arms to twist, rotating the opponent’s arm at the shoulder causing the tap.

Here is a video of the full setup and execution

Other Options

The setup for this move does not have to end in this specific shoulder lock. A more exotic version of this submission that involves using the legs to rotate the arm instead of your arms and torso is referred to as an Omoplata Shoulder Lock. Also this setup could even be used as a sweep to get to your opponent’s back or some other more advantageous position than simply full guard.

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