The Omoplata: A Positional System
Change the way you think about the omoplata shoulder lock
A while back, we at BJJ Fanatics wrote an article describing the benefits of using the kimura as a positional system and not only a shoulder lock. Using systems for various positions can expand the opportunity to attack and transition from previously unimaginable ways. A similar but directionally opposing position to the kimura is the omoplata. The omoplata differs from the kimura in two major ways, the rotational direction, and establishing the lock with the legs rather than the hands.
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For most of my Jiu Jitsu career, I have avoided attacking the omoplata due my inability to complete the submission in its standard form. I was always confronted by strong defense typically involving my opponent posturing up or rolling forward. However, in reexamining the omoplata and treating it as a position I have been much more successful in finding different ways to submit people based on their relative defense.
In the following video, you will see Tom DeBlass use the omoplata to transition to the triangle choke, a submission I have found to be easier to finish. This transition can also be performed after the omoplata is locked up in its standard form and your opponent begins to posture and turn into you. Releasing the omoplata lock and using the far leg to catch the triangle on the far side is an easy transition leading to an efficient submission.
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In the next video, Gabriel Arges uses the omoplata when the opponent is standing to attack a kneebar on the close-side leg. This transition has increased in popularity due to the advancement of the leg-lock system within the grappling community. The same transition can also be used even if your opponent is in the standard turtle position with the arm trapped in the omoplata lock.
Dealing with the forward roll is also quite difficult due to the odd positioning after the opponent lands. However, there is actually a smooth transition to mount or mounted-triangle if the timing is correct. When you notice your opponent begin to roll, start to sit up, as they land, rotate your far leg away from your opponent to the other side and you will find yourself in either mount or a mounted triangle depending on your opponent’s far arm position.
There are many more smooth and effective transitions from omoplata. By training the transitions and building your own personal system, you will find your omoplata-based submission percentage will increase significantly.