full guard

The Great Omoplata

A great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique is the Omoplata. The original is a shoulder lock that uses the legs to rotate the arm and put pressure on the shoulder. This version is slightly different though. Instead of completing the shoulder lock, it is stopped halfway through and the submission’s finish is switched to a wrist lock.

The omoplata is a relatively advanced BJJ technique. It requires good technique and quickness to successfully finish in a mixed martial arts fight or BJJ match. However this move is a very useful technique for a smaller fighter who finds himself on the bottom against a  larger fighter.

Using an omoplata in a fight requires a lot of quickness and mobility. These are the attributes where a smaller fighter generally has an advantage over a larger fighter. This submission also has the advantage of removing your body from under the opponent which nullifies his advantage over you on the ground. CLICK HERE for more information on the small man’s technique in BJJ.

Omoplata modified

This omoplata is a very simple modification to the classic one. It attacks the wrist joint of the opponent instead of the shoulder, which is smaller, weaker, and easier to put pressure on. This technique was used by Royce Gracie against a Sumo Wrestler, Akembo. This fight is probably the ultimate example of how the Omoplata, specifically this version, can be extremely useful against a larger opponent.

Setting up the Wristlock

This setup requires you to start from the full guard position. The first thing you need to do is break your feet from behind your opponent and slide your hips out from underneath your opponent, lets say to your right side. Then your left foot is placed firmly in the front of your opponent’s left hip to hold him back for your next move.

Your right foot is then Swung around the opponent’s back and your foot is placed underneath the opponent’s head against his neck. This positioning gives you very good control over the opponent. Your legs and lower body have a huge power advantage over the shoulder of your opponent which gives you this control.

Now Your left foot can also be released. By rotating the hips the opponent’s shoulder can be pinned to the ground. This immobilizes the opponent and this gives you the opportunity to finish the submission.

Finishing this Omoplata

This setup can be finished in many different ways. Many of which focus on attacking the shoulder joint. However, as any BJJ practitioner could probably tell you, it is not always easy to finish the traditional omoplata against every opponent. This can be because the opponent is simply too big to move, ask Royce Gracie, your technique isn’t perfect, or the opponent knows a good counter.

However this modified finish can be much quicker because it does not require the additional position changed of the traditional version. To finish the Omoplata wrist lock the hand is bent forwards, such that his palm is forced towards the underside of his forearm. Both of your arms are used to do this, making it impossible to fight against the lock with the comparitively small muscles of the forearm.

Below is a video of this move from start to finish


Using the Hip Bump for Sweeps and Subs

the first part of the Hip Bump sweep

The closed guard is not all that bad of a position to be in for jiu-jitsu and can even be to your advantage. however in straight mma competition a strong opponent can seriously hurt you even when he is trapped in your closed guard with strikes. The hip bump is a good technique to use when trying to escape this position and with good technique it doesn’t even require a lot of effort on your part.

In addition to being a good sweep setup the hip bump can be combined with a bunch of submission techniques making it a very versatile attack from the bottom. This makes it especially useful to add to your arsenal of attacks. Especially if your in mixed martial arts and are taking a lot of punishment from the bottom of closed guard.

The Sweep

The hip bump sweep from closed guard can be extremely effective if used correctly. The technique is not even that complicated but in practice it can be much harder than when your reading how to do it. First you break your feet around the opponent and sit up into him. While you sit up you twist and grab (for example) the opponent’s right arm with yours. You simultaneously post up on your opposite hand pushing your hips and chest into your opponent.

The closer your are to your opponent the more control you have over them. You then use your legs and arms to sweep the opponents legs and twist them down at the same time. Also this sweep puts you in a mount position on your opponent which is one of the most dominating positions in a fight. For an in depth explanation and video of this hip bump sweep basic technique click here

The Submissions

What makes this sweep so deadly is quick transition to a variety of separate submissions. One submission that works very fluidly from this sweep is the kimura lock. When you sit up and twist to grab the opponent’s arm you have it pretty well isolated. You use your planted arm to grab your opponents wrist and rotate it behind the opponent’s back while turning off to the side to get a greater range of motion over your opponent’s arm.

Another submission that works great from this sweep is the guillotine choke. this is especially true when your opponent counters your advance by driving into you with his shoulder. Instead of grabbing your opponent’s arm with the up hand you reach it behind your opponents head and around to his neck. when your opponent pushes back into you you can slide your hips back and lock in the choke and seatbelt to finish the submission.

Still further is the omoplata which is a more advanced move and more difficult to use in a fight successfully. However because it is not used often it has a higher chance of catching the opponent off guard. Another thing is that this submission starts off just like the kimura submission but obviously ends as the omoplata.



The Ground and Pound in Mixed Martial Arts

In Mixed Martial Arts competitions one form of attack that has come into prevalence is the ground and pound striking. This was popularized by notable UFC fighters like Mark Coleman, GSP, Randy Couture, and Quinton Jackson. This technique is generally used by more powerful wrestler types who can easily take an opponent to the ground then go on an offensive. The ground and pound also has serious potential for knockouts in the hands of an expert.

Getting into the Right Position

The ideal position for ground and pound is full mount and from that position it should be pretty straight forward. However such a dominant position cannot always be obtained. For a solid ground and pound full guard, half guard, or standing over an opponent are the optimal positions to be in. From any other position on the ground, besides a well times punch in a sprawl position, any strikes thrown even from a monster are more distracting and annoying than anything.

From a standing position over your opponent you can land powerful downward strikes and still hae the power from your legs to assist the punch. However when caught in a full guard or half guard position all your power has to come from your arms and torso. This means that these strikes arent necessarily as powerful as using standing strikes but they have been seen to be just as deadly when used properly.

From Half Guard

When caught in a half guard position the ground and pound can be very useful. In strict grappling half guard top is not necessarily a dominant position but with striking allowed it gives half guard top position a distinctive advantage. From this position you are within direct striking distance of the opponent’s head and face. By using the right technique one can isolate an opponents arms and leave them defenseless against strong close ranged strikes.

From Full Guard

striking from the full guard top position in a mixed martial arts match

When in the full guard and trying to use the ground and pound one puts himself in a very dominant position if he uses the correct technique. Strong straight shot punches and hooks can be thrown from this position. These strikes use all arm and core strength though instead of having the power come from the whole body’s rotation including the legs and hips. This means when trying to strike powerfully your arms and body will tire quicker so striking effectively is also important.

Also when in this position and striking your arms are left away from your body. So when striking against a good grappler who is quick and aggressive the use of submissions should be watches out for. Although The ground and pound can cause massive damage from this position but is not an invincible strategy


In defense to this ground and pound strategy an opponent will generally try and do two things. He will try and sweep you and get you into a less dominant position. This is because a solid ground and pound can only be worked from a couple of positions on the ground. Secondly he will try and break your posture because you can strike very well if you are pressed against his body. This means that in addition to power you need balance and precision in your ground and pound game.

The Full Guard

In MMA one place that you do not want to end up most of the time is on your back. This leaves you open to attack, drains your energy if the opponent knows what he is doing, and is overall considered a disadvantageous position. However locking the opponent in a full guard position leaves one with many ways to attack the opponent and turn the tides in the fight. This could be in the form of a quick submission or a sweep to gain a more sought after position in the fight.

The full guard is a very common position to end up in when in a grappling situation. If the opponent tries to perform a takedown this position is a common place to end up in. Also many fighters when on bottom will try to get the opponent in a full guard from the beginning since it is easy to catch the opponent in. However the full guard probably leaves you in the most controlling position one can be in while on your back.

The Technique

Proper technique for a full guard position…

A correct full guard can lock the opponent in place and keep the person on bottom relatively safe. This consists of wrapping the legs firmly around the opponents trunk when you are on your back and the opponent is laying on top of you; crossing the legs behind their back for added support to the hold.  Also the opponent’s head should be pulled down into your chest to prevent the opponent from posturing up.

Submissions from Full Guard

One submission that can be done from a full guard is the triangle choke. This is especially useful in MMA fighting because when in a full guard in MMA most opponents will try and use strikes which lets you isolate an arm. Also a well executed triangle choke from a full guard is a strong move which can overwhelm an opponent’s defense.

Another submission that is very effective from the full guard is the armbar. To perform this submission   you need to break your opponents posture and control his position well so it denies him options from the start. Also by keeping everything in tight while performing an armbar from the full guard is a great way to catch a slippery and sweaty opponent in a technically sound armbar.

Sweeps from Full Guard

Another good option from a full guard position is a sweep. A sweep takes your disadvantageous position and turns it into an advantageous one in one move. One good sweep is a guillotine sweep because it is done when the opponent postures up in your full guard like he is supposed to. By releasing the feet around your opponents trunk and pressing into your opponent with your shoulder and putting an arm around the opponents head for a guillotine. This can then either be finished with a guillotine or used as a sweep to get on top of the opponent.

There are many many sweeps that can be done from this position that all have something to do wth reading the opponent’s moves. One more advanced sweep, although very technical and would take much practice, is called a hook sweep and could be very useful if it could be performed successfully.