The Basics Of Omoplata: BJJ 101

For those that practice Jiu-Jitsu or have experience with it, the joint lock omoplata is likely a familiar technique. This joint lock targets the shoulder and shoulder blade, commonly known as the scapula. Scapula is Portuguese and is one of the most effective methods in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu. Omoplata is thought to have originated in catch wrestling or judo and has become a widespread technique in BJJ, often used by the guard.

This article will provide an overview of omoplata, its history, and the step-by-step process of performing it. It will also demonstrate how to execute the technique from different positions, such as the guard, side control, or triangle. This will show you how to execute the jiu-jitsu submissions and effectively gain a valuable technique.

How To Perform The Omoplata

When doing an omoplata, the practitioner must begin by standing and facing their opponent. Next, the practitioner should step their left foot behind and to the outside of the opponent’s right leg and then reach across their body with their right arm, grabbing the opponent’s left arm.

The practitioner should then use their left arm to hold their right elbow and then drop their hips to the ground, pushing their opponent’s arm away from their body. Finally, the practitioner should use their legs to trap the opponent’s arm and shoulder and then roll onto their back, forcing the opponent to the ground. If done correctly, the practitioner will have completed the omoplata.

Where Does The Name Come From

The omoplata submission hold comes from the Portuguese word “omoplata,” which translates to “shoulder blade.” This name is derived from the fact that the hold is applied by placing the shoulder blade of the opponent against the practitioner’s arm. The omoplata is a versatile submission hold that can be used from both the top and bottom positions, making it a valuable technique for various situations.

A Brief History

The omoplata technique has a long history in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). The method was first developed by Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judoka who traveled to Brazil in 1914 and eventually taught Carlos Gracie, the founder of BJJ. The Gracie family then passed down and refined the technique, eventually becoming a BJJ staple. Over the years, the omoplata has been used in various competitions, such as the IBJJF, and has become a popular technique for both gi and no-gi practitioners. The omoplata is a versatile submission that can be used from various positions and is a great way to submit an opponent without relying on strength or size.

How To Do The Omoplata From The Closed Guard

To do the omoplata from the closed guard position, the first step is to have the opponent in the closed guard. The person in the closed guard should then move their right leg over the opponent’s left arm, trapping it between their legs. Next, the person in the closed guard should reach their left arm around the opponent’s neck and then get their right arm around the opponent’s left arm.

After this, the person in the closed guard should use their left leg to press against the opponent’s right hip, while their right leg should push against the opponent’s left shoulder. Finally, the person in the closed guard should use their left arm to pull the opponent’s head down, while their right arm should be used to push the opponent’s left arm up, thus completing the omoplata.

How To Do The Omoplata From The Side Position

The omoplata is a submission move from the side control position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. To perform the omoplata, the practitioner must first establish side control. This is done by using the practitioner’s body weight to pin the opponent to the ground while keeping the practitioner’s hips elevated. Once the practitioner has side control, they should reach their arm across the opponent’s body while keeping their elbow close to their torso.

The practitioner should then place their other hand on the ground and use it to push off and rotate their body away from the opponent. This should bring the practitioner’s arm across the opponent’s shoulder and neck while the practitioner’s legs should be extended behind the opponent’s back. The practitioner should then use their legs to press the opponent’s arm down and away from their body while simultaneously pushing the opponent’s shoulder and neck down with their arm. This will create a lock, and the practitioner can apply pressure to the opponent’s shoulder to force a submission.

How To Do The Omoplata From The Triangle

To perform an omoplata from the triangle position, the first step is for the practitioner to sit up, bringing their chest up and their hips forward. Next, they should reach their left arm across the opponent’s back and then reach their right arm around their head, creating a triangle shape with their arms. Their left arm should then push against the back while their right arm should pull the head toward their chest. From here, they can rotate their hips, using their legs to trap the opponent’s arm. Finally, they can use their legs to push the opponent’s arm away from their body while pushing their hips forward to complete the omoplata.

Defending The Omoplata

When it comes to defending against the omoplata, the key is foiling the opponent’s attempt in the beginning stages of the move. If your opponent moves his leg over your shoulder, you need to act quickly to ensure that your posture remains solid and he cannot complete the submission. Move your arm from underneath his leg, freeing it from being locked around your neck, then try and turn away from him. This will break his leverage, reducing his ability for control and preventing him from pulling down on you with his body weight.

If, however, your opponent has managed to move all the way around into an omoplata position and has secured a hold of some kind on you (e.g.: underhook if they are going for an inverted reverse triangle type omoplata), then there are additional steps that you can take. You will want to focus on using bodyweight as well as levers here by ‘unrolling’ yourself unraveling out of their grip as much as possible while slightly pushing them forward with your hips in order to keep them off balance… It might feel uncomfortable at times, but if done correctly, this should help create enough space for you to escape before any further damage is done.

Want To Learn More? 

If you’re looking for a place to master omoplata, among other BJJ submissions, visit us at Granite Bay Jiu Jitsu. Our team is made up of almost 20 black belts who are experienced in the art of Jiu Jitsu and ready to pass on knowledge. Come try us out for a free week, on us!