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


The Omoplata

The omoplata armlock is a very interesting move to use or see used. It is in essence it is a kimura lock but instead of applying pressure with one’s hands the pressure is applied using the legs and body.  This move is slightly more difficult to set up and complete than your average submission. However its effectiveness is almost unmatched if one can land it successfully.

In recent years more and more people have been using the omoplata and variations of it like the gogoplata and the monoplata. this move has grown and become very dynamic with multiple submissions stemming from its set up.

Submission or Sweep

One big aspect of the omoplata is its dual purpose use as a sweep or a submission. Since the move is most commonly used from the full guard it is a great way to sweep one’s opponent even if the move cannot be completed as a submission

One way that this move is commonly used as a sweep is in transition from a triangle choke. Durring a triangle choke a common defense is to wrap the trapped arm behind the attacker’s leg. Unluckily for him this then puts him in the perfect position for an omoplata.

The Submissions

If a submission is the desired endgame there are plenty that one can complete from the setup of the omoplata. This makes the omoplata a hard move to defend against because there is not one set way to perform the submission but many many variations

A finished omoplata with the kimura style armlock

The most common way to end it is the kimura style lock. For this submission the opponents arm ends up being chicken winged via your legs. This puts incredible pressure on the shoulder to force the tap out

Another submission that can be completed is a wristlock. Once on top of the opponent, instead of using your body to put pressure on the shoulder, the opponent is held down easily from the position that is set up and a wristlock can be easily applied.Also a footlock can be completed from this position as well. Commonly an opponent will try and roll into you to relieve pressure from his shoulder. As he rolls his legs and feet become readily available for attack and a fotlock can be applied. In addition to this as the opponent rolls the arm is still entangled and an armbar can be used.

Defending the attack

There are a few ways to defend against this attack. One is a preemptive defense and as soon as you feel the arm being isolated for the omoplata you need to start rotating towards the isolated arm side. From there the opponent cannot complete their move and will have to change strategies

If the opponent has already isolated the arm and flipped on top of you there is the rolling defense. Although very cool looking and fun to do, if this defense needs to be used top position is given up and it means the opponent almost had you in the submission.

Or there is the Turtle Roll defense