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Transitioning from Omoplata to Leg Locks

Transitioning from Omoplata to Leg Locks

Great Transition From Upper Body Attacks To Lower Body Attacks!

Of the many submissions from closed guard, the omoplata is a classic. This submission, which has been utilized for many years, allows the attacker to use their legs to create a painful shoulder lock. For many people, myself included, the omoplata is a difficult submission to finish. Common defenses like posturing and rolling can render this submission frustrating, especially no-gi, when it is much more slippery.

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Because the omoplata is not an easy move to finish, it would prove beneficial to learn transitions to other submissions and positions. There are a lot of great transitions including one to an armbar, kneebar, and mount. The triangle is also a classic transition taught to even brand-new students.

Although the triangle is the most obvious submission transition, it is easy to ignore what is directly near us. When attacking the omoplata, the defender’s legs and feet are right in front of us and always undefended. This is a great opportunity to transition to leg attacks. The easiest and quickest here is the far-sided toe hold. The following video by BJJ Fanatics shows this awesome transition.


Although a toe hold on the near sided foot is possible, it is difficult to attain the proper leverage needed to produce a tap. The angle one can get from the far leg will provide for greater success in the finish. A common defense to the toe hold is for the defender to straighten the leg being attacked, so if you are trying this move, make it imperative to keep their leg bent.

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Even if you don’t particularly like toe holds or leg locks, this is an excellent submission to attack against an opponent who is defending the omoplata by tucking their arms and being very tight. They will have no choice but to move when their foot is being attacking and this will give you the opportunity to transition back to the omoplata or another position or submission.  

By giving up the omoplata intelligently, one can make easy transitions to great submissions, especially leg locks. Another example of one is when one’s opponent attempts a forward roll, moving the legs from the arm to the close side leg can allow for a strong kneebar finish.

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