The Omoplata Explained: What Is It & How To Do It?

The Omoplata is a BJJ combating technique that completely engages the opponent during the combat.

What Does Omoplata Mean?

Omoplata is a Portuguese word, meaning a shoulder lock. Though the Omoplata mainly emphasis shoulder or shoulder blade lock, it has much more use. 

You can use it as a submission, a sweep, or crossover to other positions. Its locking technique is the same as that of Kimura lock.

But in Omoplata, combatants use legs in place of hands to dominate the opponent. It is a fundamental skill that a BJJ combatant has to acquire. 

The Omoplata goes by the name of Ashi Sankaku Garami in the Japanese Judo.

Apart from BJJ and Judo, the Omoplata – with some variations in the applying techniques – has its place in other versions of martial arts.

It includes the likes of Catch wrestling, Folk wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, Freestyle wrestling, Jujutsu, Judo, Luta Livre, and Sambo too.

Origin of the Omoplata

The Omoplata traces back its origin to Japanese Judo as Ashi Sankaku Garami. It was an alternative technique to be used in situations when the Judo fighter had no other option.

The Omoplata got recognition in BJJ between the third and fourth decades of the 20th century.

However, BJJ practitioners of the Gracie system did not favor the Omoplata. They did not consider it any usable submission, sweep, or transition movement.

The BJJ veteran used to prefer other techniques such as chokes and straight arm lock. The credit to make the Omoplata popular in the BJJ community goes to Nino Schembri. He was a Carlos Gracie Jr. Black Belt.

He noticed its potentials and used it effectively in the Bjj combats around 1990. Since then, it has become an integral part of the BJJ.

How To Do An Omoplata?

Below, I am giving a brief explanation to do an Omoplata.

Basic Steps

Begin in a closed guard.

Make a deep over hook at an arm of the opponent to isolate it from you. You have to restrict the other arm of the opponent at the wrist. Simultaneously, and swiftly transition to a side guard position on the side of the hooked arm.

Now move from blocking the other arm to a palm facing arm position and push their face away from you.

Bring your top guard leg over the opponent’s back to clear off the head, and place your leg over the shoulder blade on the side of the hooked arm. Remove your grip from the hooked arm and grip the other side of the opponent’s hips.

Now you have to become flat on the floor with being parallel to the opponent. Stretch your legs out and twist your knees together so that your arms will be free. Next, using your free hand, hold the wrist on the hooked arm, pulling it tight.

Finally, you have to start using your legs to shift away from your opponent and simultaneously pulling them down so that they come down flat on the floor.

How To Finish Your Opponent with Omoplata

You have to twist your legs together, pull them away from your opponent, making a figure four position. K

eep holding the other wrist by moving your hips forward slowly and rolling your thighs; besides, liftoff your opponent’s wrist on the hooked arm, making a Kimura posture. 

In case your far side leg is trapped, twist your upper body and pull the opponent’s arm tight. In this position, both feet should remain twisted. You will get your leg free.

Watch this interesting video from fightTIPS to get a clearer idea:

How to Bait Guard to The Omoplata

If you are at the bottom closed guard, and your opponent is likely to pass your guard. You have to try the following techniques.

Basic Steps

You have to begin by opening your guard. Now put both feet on the opponent’s hips. Grip your opponent’s wrist using a two-on-one technique.

Now you bait your opponent to pass the opposite of the gripped arm. Swiftly place your legs on the side of the hands. And begin pulling the gripped arm down.  

You have to coordinate your body to face the same direction as that of the opponent and parallel to the opponent. Quickly, take a sweep with the leg that was over the shoulder of the opponent.


In this position, your opponent will try to free them of the Omoplata by rolling out. You have to squeeze your knees to dominate them.

Tips To Make Omoplata Really Work

These are some points to keep in mind while doing Omoplata, to make you a versatile BJJ Combatant.

1. Have Patience

It is an essential quality that a BJJ practitioner should possess. Some combats draw for a long duration.

In this situation, you have to be patient and watch out for the weaknesses of your opponent. You will have to keep them under your dominance with patience.

Eventually, your patience will win. 

2. Remain Cool 

Do not get tensed or irritated during combat. Tension and anxiety may lead you to lose concentration.

Eventually, you may lose hold over your opponent. That will result in your defeat.

3. Remain in Control Over the Opponent 

If you apply the Omoplata in BJJ combat, your opponent will try to escape away by rolling out. You have to hold him well either by taking a firm grip on his waist or holding his belt. 

There is also a chance that they may try to pounce upon you by jumping over. Hence, you have to get hold of their legs so that they remain in the air without any support.

4. Proper Finish 

Try to finish the combat properly by making your opponent flat on the ground. If you lose your control at this point, and they are not flat, they may launch a counter-attack on you. 

5. Apply Omoplata As A Complete Tool

You have to use different features of the Omoplata such as submission, sweep, and transition as per the need of the situation. 

Final Thoughts

So if you are willing to practice BJJ as a beginner, it is recommendable to get expertise in the Omoplata.

I’ve tried to share a brief glimpse of basic Omoplata and how you can make it really work. I hope this article helps you in becoming an Omoplata expert.

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