The omoplata is one of my very favorite armlocks.
There are so many opportunities to get to this submission from almost every guard position, the top, in scrambles, etc.
And because you’re using the strength of both of your legs against his arm it has the potential to be an ultra powerful submission!
Trouble is, against better opponents the omoplata often turns into a sweep: your opponent realises that he’s in trouble and somersaults forward.
Usually you can capitalise on this roll and scramble to the top, which effectively turns it into a sweep.
But wouldn’t it have been better to have submitted him in the first place?
In the video below I take you through three additions to my game that have hugely increased my finishing percentages for the omoplata.
These tweaks have really helped my own omoplata game and the omoplata attacks of the people I’ve shown them to, so I think you’ll find them very useful…
Here’s a quick overview of what I shared in the video above.
To finish an opponent with the classical omoplata armlock you want him sprawled out, belly to the ground, like this…
If he manages to stay on his knees you can still finish him, but the percentages start going down. On his knees he has many more counters he can use to escape or reverse the position…
The most common escape, used by white belts, black belts and everyone in between, is the forward somersault. If your opponent does this you can still sit up and scramble to the top, turning it into a sweep, but submitting him would have been better!
Like I said earlier, it’s WAY easier to finish your opponent if he’s flattened out and lying on his belly.
So here are 3 of my favorite ways to get him off his knees and flatten him out!
Omoplata Armlock Setup 1: Near Hand Drag
The first method is to sit up, post my far hand on the ground, hook his hip with my near hand, and then move sideways until I’ve dragged him down.
These grips are easy to get so this technique is well worth trying, but be aware that the sideways posture-breaking movement itself isn’t very powerful. So don’t be surprised if a stubborn, athletic opponent is able to resist your attempts to flatten him out with this.
Don’t worry though, the next variation should take care of him nicely…
Omoplata Armlock Setup 2: Far Hand Drag
The second method is similar to the first, but the arms are reversed…
In this method I twist my upper body towards him, base out with my near hand and hook his hip with my far hand.
This gripping configuration is a little harder to get than in the first technique, but the resultant sideways motion is much more powerful.
Something about how your posting hand is positioned allows you to be much more mobile laterally, and this makes it very hard for your opponent to stay on his knees.
Both method 1 and 2 require you to sit up beside your opponent. But what if he’s got your leg so tightly clamped with his arm that you can’t even get up onto your butt?
No problem… this is where you go to the next technique!
Omoplata Armlock Setup 3: One Armed Shoulder Press
The third method is used when you can’t sit up enough to grab his hip.
First your near hand grabs the cuff of his pant leg, and then simultaneously you do three things,
- Kick your legs forward
- Punch your arm up
- Move your body sideways
Usually these three movements will result in him faceplanting on the the mat and make it possible for you to sit up, lock on the harness grip, and finish him with the omoplata.
This may seem like it requires a ton of shoulder and arm strength, but once you drill it you’ll probably find that it’s a lot easier than you might think. Just remember that it’s not only your arm: also move your body sideways and kick your legs forward so you’re attacking his posture with your entire body.
If you found this article useful you should know that I also emailed it out to the people on my BJJ newsletter list. Those emails have helped a lot of people get better at BJJ faster; click here to find out more about that free service.
Now go forth and omoplata someone for me!
P.S. I love the omoplata because it’s the most versatile submission in jiu-jitsu.
It’s a submission, it’s a sweep, and it sets up many other sweeps and submissions.
So I put together a step-by-step system for mastering the omoplata in DVD, online streaming, and app based formats that you might want to check out.
This instructional is my super-detailed breakdown of one of my very favorite submissions. It’ll change your game.