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Mastering the Omoplata from Closed Guard

Mastering the Omoplata from Closed Guard


The omoplata may be one of the most underrated submissions in Jiu Jitsu.  So many people assume that this position is either easy to escape or that it does not work at the highest levels.  This is not true.  The omoplata is an effective weapon because it can be utilized as a submission, as a sweep, and it can be used to set up many other attacks and back takes.

Why do so many people just ignore the omoplata? It could be because they assume that their partner can just roll their way out of any omoplata, it could also be because the complexity of the technique can make it intimidating for some to learn.  One thing is certain, this is an extremely effective and powerful weapon for any arsenal. 

Today, we are going to look at the omoplata from the closed guard.  The omoplata is a particularly great submission and attack from the closed guard.  Because it is a little bit unorthodox, some people tend to ignore it.  Others think they are good at escaping it but, they are not.  Mastering the omoplata can give you a competitive edge because so many people ignore it.  Let’s look at some different variations of the omoplata with black belt world champions, Bernardo Faria and Gabriel Arges.  IF you are just starting to learn closed guard, these may not be for you, take a look at our introductory article for closed guard, “Closed Guard, The Foundation of the Guard.”

Omoplata from the Closed Guard Controlling The Sleeve by Bernardo Faria

Below we are going to share with you an omoplata set up that Bernardo likes to use from the closed guard.  This is a set up that some people may be familiar but what we need to pay attention to is all of the finite details.  Bernardo shows how to enter from closed guard but the way that he finishes the omoplata is a thing of beauty.  Bernardo has so many details on this position. 

One thing to note about the omoplata is that no matter how you get into the position, you are going to end up in the same place so the finishing details are the most important.  So let’s say you use the lasso or the De La Riva to set up the omoplata, the way you finish is the same from everywhere.  Let’s have a look at all of Bernardo’s details below. For those not familiar with Bernardo, he is a 5x Black Belt World Champion with the IBJJF and won the most prestigious title in bjj, the black belt open weight division.


So as you can see Bernardo is demonstrating an omoplata from the closed guard.  Many people learn this sleeve control omoplata but they fail to have all the details correct.  Like Bernardo stated in the video above, if only it was as easy as when we are taught, the more we drill and use the position the more we learn.

Bernardo gave great details when discussing his foot placement and how he lifts his hip.  If you notice, Bernardo puts one of his feet on the shoulder of his opponent and lifts his hip extremely high in the air.  This allows him to break his opponent’s posture and create an extreme angle.  Once he gets the posture broken and the angle he gets into the omoplata.

Initially he has the under hook on his opponents leg and he has sleeve control.  He puts his opponent’s wrist into his “pocket” and then put his hand on the belt while he still has the under hook on the leg.  It is important to note that placing your hand on the belt will prevent them from rolling and it will allow you to be able to sit up quickly and without using so much core strength.

Once Bernardo sits up he places his left hand across his opponent’s lower back.  He is ultimately trying to grab their lapel right near their arm pit.  Like he said in the video if he is able to get the lapel then he believes he will have a 90% success rate.  That is extremely high, especially at his level.  When he gets the lapel he straitens his legs to put weight on his opponents shoulder and he ultimately wants to flatten his opponent so that their chest is on the floor.

Tremendous detail for a move that many of us are guilty of overlooking, the omoplata is an excellent submission to keep in your back pocket because many people think it is easy to escape.  This lack of knowledge and acknowledgement of the power of the omoplata makes it a great move to master. The omplata is particularly great from the closed guard because many people do not see it coming.  You can also use the omplata to set up several other attacks, below we are going to take a look at how you can use the omoplata to set up a knee bar with Black Belt World Champion, Gabriel Arges.

Closed Guard to Omoplata to Knee Bar by Gabriel Arges

Let’s start with an introduction, Gabriel Arges is a Black Belt World Champion who trains under Gracie Barra with multiple time Black Belt World Champion, Romulo Barral.  Gabriel has the privilege of training with monsters like Edwin Najmi, Felipe Pena and Romulo on a daily basis.  He is infamous for having an excellent knee bar.  He was able to win the finals of the Black Belt World Champion by submission which is extremely impressive, furthermore, it was with a knee bar. 

Gabriel is going to show us how he uses the omoplata to set up his knee bar.  The omoplata is a very simple position to get into when your opponent stands in your closed guard.  When this happens, this is a great opportunity to get into other positions by using the omoplata.  Make your opponent focus on defensing one submission to ultimately achieve another.  We are going to take a look at how Gabriel does this below and then discuss it.

So as you can see above, Gabriel is setting this omoplata up when his opponent stands in his closed guard.  Many people stand in the closed guard so that they are able to pass the guard easier.  This situation is tough to deal with if you do not have a game plan.  What you don’t want to happen when playing closed guard is allowing your opponent to stand and pass immediately. 

When his opponent stands, Gabriel is going to control his opponents sleeve much like Bernardo.  Controlling the sleeve will make it so that your opponent cannot grab your pants and so that you can also keep their posture somewhat broken.  This sleeve control will allow you to shift your hips so that you can shoot for the omoplata.

Once Gabriel shoots for the omoplata he is already thinking about the knee bar.  This omoplata is an amazing distraction because his opponent will focus on the danger of it and forget about his legs.  It is always a good strategy to threaten one submission in order to get another.  Once he is ready, Gabriel will invert and attack the knee. 

Gabriel’s main goal is to off balance and sweep is opponent so that he can land in a belly down knee bar.  This is one of the set ups that Gabriel was able to use at the highest levels of competition.  It may seem unorthodox, but you will have the element of surprise with this attack.

If you want to learn more of the omoplata set ups, finishes, and entries, Bernardo has an ENTIRE DVD set on just the omoplata.  It is called “Omoplata Everyone” and if you watch this, that is exactly what you will do.  This DVD is also available as a digital download so that you can have the content immediately. If you're not to keen to learn the omoplata, check out our article "The Two Best Submissions To Learn From Closed Guard."

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