Is the Omoplata the Most Versatile Submission?

Is the Omoplata the Most Versatile Submission?

The omoplata shoulder lock might be the most versatile submission in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It's origins can be traced to the past through judo and catch wrestling and it's prominence in sport jiu jitsu did not come about until the late 1990's.  The classic 'old school' omoplata is typically given cursory attention in our first few months of BJJ as part of the 'closed guard' game that most people do their best to hasten through rushing towards moves that are either flashier or the current flavor of the month, or both.

The closed guard is a position that should be revisited often as should all of the different weapons that can be launched from that position with omoplata being one of the best and most versatile because not only is it a devastating shoulder joint submission, but because it can also quickly morph itself into a full blown position or sweep.

In the video below, world champion Bernardo Faria shows his interpretation of the classic "old school" omoplata.  It reminds us that the basics are the foundation for a reason.  They are simple and most importantly extremely effective.

 Secure the overhook to begin the omoplata

Bernardo shows two different ways to establish the overhook, by either swimming both hands in and catching the opponent or by breaking the grip of one side and swimming over that arm for the overhook.

Secure opposite lapel to control posture for the omoplata

Once the overhook is achieved, Bernardo suggests that you use that hand to reach through to the opposite lapel of the opponent to control their posture and help keep their shoulder tight.

Open Guard/Hip Escape

Once posture is broken and the opponent is controlled, you are free to hip out and open your guard.  At this point, there are a variety of submissions your opponent might face.  They've got to be ready for triangles, armbars, while you're planning the omoplata.  It is a very dangerous place for them.

Block the face

By using the free hand, you will be able to control the distance and keep the opponent from pressuring in towards you.  This also creates a path for you to bring your foot around to lock the shoulder with your leg.

Reach the foot and pull it in front of opponent's face

You will pull the foot and put in tn front of the opponent's face, locking your feet together.

Lock legs and secure belt 

Once the feet are locked, it's time to secure a grip on the opponent's belt or even pants to prevent them from trying to attempt a roll out to escape the position.

Stretch legs while securing arm in position

You are in the final downhill stretch for the omoplata.  It should take very little effort to stretch out your legs and sit up, flattening opponent.  It may be necessary to hip away from them slightly to flatten them fully.  You can also slide back very slightly which will help flatten them.

Bend legs to side and push into opponent to finish

It's now time to finish the position.  Your legs are then pulled back to the side away from the opponent and used to drive yourself at an angle over the far shoulder of your partner.  This raising of the hips with the opponent's arm trapped in a kimura-like shape will put tremendous pressure on their shoulders and they will quickly tap.

For another variation of the versatile omoplata, check out this BJJ Fanatics article on catching the omoplata from half guard here.

World champion Bernardo Faria is known for his powerful and creative submissions like his use of the omoplata which is one of his favorite submissions.  Check out his 4 DVD instructional set focusing on his Closed Guard game here on sale today!