BJJ Omoplata Submission [FAQ Guide to Mastery]

In the dynamic world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the omoplata BJJ submission stands out as a versatile and effective submission. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or a curious beginner, understanding the intricacies of the BJJ omoplata can significantly elevate your grappling game.

What is an Omoplata in BJJ?

The BJJ omoplata is a powerful shoulder lock technique where the attacker uses their legs to control the opponent’s shoulder joint. Executed primarily from the guard position, the omoplata involves isolating the arm, creating pressure on the shoulder, and ultimately forcing a tap.

Is an Omoplata a Choke?

Contrary to its name, the omoplata is not a choke in the traditional sense. Instead, it’s a joint lock targeting the shoulder. While the submission term “omoplata choke” does also exist, it’s essential to recognize that the submission primarily attacks the shoulder joint.

What is the Difference Between Omoplata and Kimura?

Both the omoplata and Kimura are shoulder-centric techniques, but their execution and final objectives differ. The Kimura involves gripping the opponent’s wrist and rotating the shoulder, while the omoplata traps the arm using the legs, focusing on shoulder control and pressure.

How Do You Set Up an Omoplata in BJJ?

A step-by-step guide on how to set up an omoplata:

1. Start from Guard: Begin from the closed guard or open guard position. You need to be on your back with your opponent in front of you.

2. Control the Opponent’s Posture: Before attempting the omoplata, it’s crucial to control your opponent’s posture. Use grips on their sleeves, collar, or lapels to prevent them from posturing up and creating distance.

3. Secure the Wrist: Choose one arm of your opponent to attack. Use one hand to control their wrist on the same side while maintaining control of their posture with your other hand.

4. Create an Angle: Shift your hips to the side of the controlled arm, creating an angle. This will make it easier to work towards the omoplata.

5. Place Your Leg Over the Opponent’s Shoulder: Take the leg on the same side as the controlled arm and swing it over your opponent’s shoulder. Your shin should be across their upper back.

6. Lock Your Legs: Once your leg is over their shoulder, lock your legs together. Your calf should be pressing against the back of their neck, and your foot should be under their armpit.

7. Control the Opponent’s Hips: Use your free hand to control your opponent’s hip or belt, preventing them from rolling out of the omoplata.

8. Finish the Omoplata: With control of their wrist and their shoulder trapped by your legs, start applying pressure to their shoulder by pushing down on their wrist while lifting your hips. This will create the necessary torque to attack the shoulder joint.


  • Maintain good control throughout the setup to prevent your opponent from countering or escaping.
  • Be aware of your own balance and base to avoid being swept or reversed.
  • Practice the movement slowly at first to get the mechanics right before attempting it at full speed.

The omoplata can be a complex technique, and proficiency comes with consistent practice. It’s also essential to be mindful of your training partner’s safety, especially when applying joint locks.

Key Details for Executing a Successful Omoplata

Executing a successful omoplata in BJJ requires attention to key details throughout the technique. Here are some important details to keep in mind:

  1. Grip Control:
    • Secure a strong grip on your opponent’s wrist with one hand. This grip control is essential to initiate and control the omoplata setup.
  2. Posture Control:
    • Maintain control of your opponent’s posture using grips on their collar, sleeves, or lapels. This prevents them from posturing up and defending against the omoplata.
  3. Create an Angle:
    • Shift your hips to the side of the controlled arm. Creating an angle is crucial for setting up the omoplata and restricting your opponent’s movement.
  4. Leg Placement:
    • Swing your leg over your opponent’s shoulder smoothly. Ensure that your shin is across their upper back, creating a barrier and setting the stage for the lock.
  5. Leg Lock:
    • Lock your legs securely once your leg is over the opponent’s shoulder. The triangle formed by your legs should be tight, with your calf pressing against the back of their neck and your foot under their armpit.
  6. Hip Control:
    • Use your free hand to control your opponent’s hip or belt. This helps prevent them from rolling out of the omoplata and adds an additional element of control to the position.
  7. Maintain Balance:
    • Stay balanced throughout the technique. Be mindful of your weight distribution and base to prevent your opponent from sweeping you or countering effectively.
  8. Shoulder Pressure:
    • Apply pressure to your opponent’s shoulder by pushing down on their wrist while lifting your hips. This motion creates the necessary torque to attack the shoulder joint.
  9. Timing and Fluidity:
    • Execute the omoplata with good timing and fluidity. Avoid rushing through the movements, and be aware of your opponent’s reactions to make necessary adjustments.
  10. Transition Opportunities:
    • Be ready to transition to other attacks or submissions if your opponent defends the omoplata. For example, you can transition to a triangle choke or an armbar.
  11. Practice:
    • Regularly practice the omoplata from various positions to develop muscle memory and improve the fluidity of your execution.

Mastering the omoplata takes time and consistent practice. Pay attention to these details, and don’t hesitate to ask your BJJ instructor or training partners for feedback to refine your technique.

Variations of the Omoplata BJJ Technique

Practitioners often develop variations and modifications of techniques to suit their style, body type, or to adapt to different situations. The omoplata is no exception, and there are several variations and setups that practitioners may use. Here are a few variations of the omoplata:

  1. Traditional Omoplata:
    • As described earlier, the traditional omoplata involves controlling the opponent’s wrist, creating an angle, swinging the leg over the shoulder, and finishing with pressure on the shoulder joint.
  2. Rolling Omoplata:
    • This variation involves rolling through with the omoplata to end up on top of your opponent. After securing the omoplata position, you roll over your far shoulder, ending up in a dominant top position.
  3. Omoplata from Spider Guard:
    • Start from a spider guard position, controlling both sleeves. Transition into the omoplata by breaking your opponent’s posture and creating an angle, similar to the traditional setup.
  4. Omoplata from De la Riva Guard:
    • Begin in the De la Riva guard and use the hook to control your opponent’s posture. From here, you can transition into the omoplata by manipulating their arm and creating the necessary angle.
  5. Omoplata to Armbar Transition:
    • When your opponent defends the omoplata by posturing up, transition smoothly to an armbar by releasing the leg lock and isolating the arm.
  6. Gogoplata:
    • This is a variation where, instead of locking the triangle with both legs, you use your free leg to press against your opponent’s throat. It’s a combination of the omoplata and a choking element.
  7. Standing Omoplata:
    • Initiate the omoplata from a standing position by wrapping your legs around your opponent’s arm as they stand. This variation can be effective in both gi and no-gi situations.
  8. Omoplata Sweep:
    • Instead of finishing the omoplata, use it as a sweep to come on top of your opponent. This can be particularly effective if your opponent is resisting the submission.
  9. Omoplata to Back Take:
    • Transition from the omoplata to taking your opponent’s back. As they defend, use their reactions to secure a favorable position on their back.
  10. Reverse Omoplata:
    • In this variation, you attack the opposite arm of your opponent, essentially reversing the standard omoplata setup.

These variations demonstrate the adaptability of the omoplata in different situations and positions. It’s essential to explore these variations during training and find the ones that complement your style and preferences. As always, seek guidance from your BJJ instructor to refine your technique and ensure that you are applying these variations effectively and safely.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While learning the omoplata in Jiu Jitsu, practitioners often make common mistakes that can compromise the effectiveness of the technique. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when executing the omoplata:

  1. Insufficient Grip Control:
    • Failing to establish a strong grip on your opponent’s wrist can lead to them easily pulling their arm out and defending the omoplata. Ensure a solid grip on the wrist to control the arm effectively.
  2. Neglecting Posture Control:
    • If you don’t control your opponent’s posture, they can easily posture up and escape the omoplata. Maintain grips on the collar, lapels, or sleeves to limit their ability to posture.
  3. Lack of Hip Movement:
    • Creating the right angle is crucial for a successful omoplata. Neglecting to move your hips to the side of the controlled arm makes it easier for your opponent to defend and escape.
  4. Poor Leg Placement:
    • Incorrectly placing your leg over the opponent’s shoulder can result in a loose or ineffective omoplata. Make sure your shin is across their upper back, creating a tight lock.
  5. Weak Leg Lock:
    • Failing to secure a tight lock with your legs can allow your opponent to posture up and escape. Ensure that your legs are locked securely, forming a triangle around your opponent’s arm and shoulder.
  6. Ineffective Hip Pressure:
    • Applying insufficient pressure with your hips during the finish can make it challenging to attack your opponent’s shoulder joint. Lift your hips and apply downward pressure on their wrist for a more effective finish.
  7. Not Controlling the Opponent’s Hips:
    • Neglecting to control your opponent’s hips with your free hand can allow them to roll out of the omoplata. Use your free hand to control their hip or belt and prevent escapes.
  8. Overcommitting:
    • Being overly aggressive with the omoplata without proper control can lead to your opponent countering and potentially reversing the position. Maintain balance and control throughout the technique.
  9. Failing to Transition:
    • If your opponent successfully defends the omoplata, failing to transition to another attack or position can leave you vulnerable. Be prepared to transition to submissions like armbar or triangle, or use the omoplata as a sweep.
  10. Ignoring Your Own Safety:
    • It’s essential to be aware of your own balance and base while attempting the omoplata to avoid being swept or countered. Pay attention to your positioning and stay controlled.

Addressing these common mistakes and consistently refining your technique will contribute to your success in applying the omoplata in BJJ. Seeking feedback from your instructor and training partners is also valuable in improving your execution.

Effectiveness in BJJ Competitions

The omoplata BJJ submission, when executed with precision, can be a formidable weapon in BJJ competitions. Its unpredictability and versatility make it a valuable tool for catching opponents off guard and securing victories. Here are some reasons why the omoplata can be effective in BJJ competitions:

  1. Versatility:
    • The omoplata can be initiated from various guard positions, including closed guard, open guard, spider guard, and De la Riva guard, making it a versatile attack that can be integrated into different aspects of your game.
  2. Surprise Element:
    • Many opponents may not expect the omoplata, especially if they are more focused on defending against more common attacks like armbars and triangles. This element of surprise can catch your opponent off guard, creating an opportunity for a successful submission.
  3. Transition Opportunities:
    • The omoplata provides transition opportunities. If your opponent defends the initial attack, you can transition to other submissions or sweeps, such as the triangle choke, armbar, or a sweep to a dominant position.
  4. Scoring Points:
    • In BJJ competitions that use a points system, controlling your opponent with the omoplata can earn you points. Even if you don’t secure the submission, if you maintain the position effectively, you can accumulate points or advantages for positional control.
  5. Submission Threat:
    • When applied correctly, the omoplata creates a legitimate threat to your opponent’s shoulder joint. This can force them to react defensively, potentially opening up opportunities for you to advance or transition to other attacks.
  6. Adaptability to Gi and No-Gi:
    • The omoplata can be effective in both gi and no-gi competitions, making it a valuable technique for practitioners who compete in various formats.
  7. Difficulty in Defending:
    • The omoplata can be challenging for opponents to defend, especially if you effectively control their posture, grip, and hip movement. This difficulty in defending increases the chances of successfully applying the submission.
  8. Use in Chain Attacks:
    • Skilled BJJ practitioners often use the omoplata as part of a chain of attacks. For example, if your opponent defends the omoplata, you may transition seamlessly to other submissions or sweeps.
  9. Effective Against Larger Opponents:
    • The leverage and joint manipulation involved in the omoplata make it effective even against larger opponents. Proper technique can allow you to attack the shoulder joint regardless of size and strength differentials.

It’s important to note that while the omoplata can be highly effective, its success depends on proper execution, timing, and the ability to adapt to your opponent’s reactions. As with any technique, consistent practice, drilling, and live sparring are essential for developing proficiency in applying the omoplata in BJJ competitions.

Counters and Defenses Against the Omoplata

  1. Rolling Escape: A skilled opponent may attempt to roll out of the omoplata, requiring the attacker to adjust their position.
  2. Stacking Defense: By stacking their weight forward, the opponent can alleviate pressure on the shoulder, making it challenging to complete the submission.

Drills and Exercises for Omoplata Proficiency

  1. Solo Omoplata Drills: Practice the essential movements and transitions without a partner.
  2. Resistance Training: Engage in controlled sparring sessions, focusing on integrating the omoplata into your overall game.

Applying Jiu Jitsu Omoplata from Different Positions

While the omoplata is commonly initiated from the guard, experienced practitioners can seamlessly transition into it from various positions, including side control and even during stand-up exchanges. Here’s how you can apply the omoplata from different positions:

  1. Closed Guard:
    • Setup: Control your opponent’s posture, break their grip if necessary, and secure a strong grip on one of their wrists.
    • Execution: Shift your hips to the side of the controlled arm, create an angle, swing your leg over their shoulder, and lock the omoplata.
    • Tip: Use your free hand to control their hip or belt for added stability.
  2. Open Guard (Spider Guard or De la Riva):
    • Setup: Maintain grips on your opponent’s sleeves or collar, and use your legs to control their posture.
    • Execution: Transition into the omoplata by manipulating their arm, breaking their posture, and creating the necessary angle.
    • Tip: Be dynamic in your open guard, using your legs to off-balance your opponent and set up the omoplata.
  3. Half Guard:
    • Setup: While in half guard, control your opponent’s wrist on the trapped side, and use your free leg to create distance.
    • Execution: Slide your leg across their chest, creating an angle, and transition into the omoplata.
    • Tip: Be aware of your underhook and control their posture to prevent them from smashing through your half guard.
  4. Top Position (Side Control or Mount):
    • Setup: From side control, isolate one of your opponent’s arms. In mount, control their arm as you transition to an S-mount position.
    • Execution: Move to the side of the isolated arm, swing your leg over their shoulder, and lock the omoplata.
    • Tip: Maintain top control and pressure as you transition into the omoplata, preventing your opponent from escaping.
  5. Standing Position (Standing Omoplata):
    • Setup: From a standing position, control your opponent’s wrist and use your legs to set up the omoplata.
    • Execution: Swing your leg over their shoulder and control their posture as you bring them down to the ground.
    • Tip: Be quick and fluid in your movements to catch your opponent before they can react.
  6. Transition from Failed Armbar or Triangle:
    • Setup: If your opponent defends an armbar or triangle attempt, transition smoothly into the omoplata.
    • Execution: Adjust your position, create an angle, and lock the omoplata.
    • Tip: Use your opponent’s reactions to your initial attacks to flow into the omoplata seamlessly.
  7. Reverse Omoplata:
    • Setup: Attack the opposite arm of your opponent, reversing the standard omoplata setup.
    • Execution: Control the wrist, create an angle, and transition into the reverse omoplata.
    • Tip: This variation can surprise your opponent, especially if they are not expecting an attack on the opposite side.

Regular drilling and live sparring from various positions will help you develop a well-rounded omoplata game in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

High-Percentage Setups for the Omoplata

  1. Fake Guard Pull: Feigning a guard pull can bait opponents into vulnerable positions.
  2. Submission Chains: Utilize a combination of attacks to set up the omoplata, keeping your opponent guessing.

Instructional Videos and Tutorials

For visual learners, numerous online resources provide detailed tutorials on mastering the omoplata. Check out BJJ Fanatics and YouTube for in-depth instructional videos from renowned BJJ practitioners.

Omoplata vs. Other BJJ Submissions

Compared to traditional submissions like armbars and triangles, the omoplata offers a unique element of surprise. Its unorthodox setup and execution can catch even skilled opponents off guard.

Principles and Concepts Behind the Omoplata

  1. Leverage: Utilize the leverage created by your legs to control and manipulate the opponent’s shoulder.
  2. Timing: Execute the omoplata at the opportune moment, capitalizing on openings created by your opponent’s movements.

Is Omoplata Legal as a White Belt?

Yes, the omoplata is legal at the white belt level. However, practitioners should prioritize safety and avoid applying excessive force during training.

Can Kids Perform the Omoplata?

According to the IBJJF rules, omoplata for kids is illegal. However, the decision to teach the omoplata or similar techniques to kids should align with the philosophy of the specific BJJ academy and the comfort level of both parents and instructors regarding the safety of the students. Always prioritize the well-being and safety of young practitioners in martial arts training.

ibjjf slam rules
IBJJF rule book screenshot

Table: Key Attributes of the Omoplata Choke

Grip StrengthCritical for maintaining control during execution
FlexibilityAids in achieving optimal leg positioning
TimingCrucial for catching opponents off guard
Transition SkillsFacilitates smooth movement into the submission

In conclusion, mastering the BJJ omoplata choke requires a blend of technical proficiency, strategic thinking, and adaptability. Whether you’re aiming to surprise opponents in competitions or enhance your overall skill set, incorporating the omoplata into your arsenal can be a game-changer. Remember, practice and continuous refinement are key to unlocking the full potential of this dynamic submission technique.

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