Omoplata BJJ Submission (Gi & No-Gi)

The Omoplata is one of the first dozen submissions beginners learn in jiu-jitsu, but it’s usually later in their journey when they use it in real situations. Like its close relative, the Kimura, the Omoplata can be used as a submission, a sweep, or a setup for other finishing moves.

The Omoplata is a shoulder lock, targeting the scapula and shoulder joint by isolating and controlling an arm using your legs.

Many claim the technique is a low percentage as a finisher. While this is true, its versatility makes it an excellent addition to the arsenal of many BJJ players, especially those on the more flexible side or with longer legs.

What Is An Omoplata in BJJ?

The Omoplata is a shoulder lock, which means scapula in Portuguese. The mechanics of the lock are similar to those of a Kimura as it places the attacked arm in the same position, but instead of controlling it with your hands, you use the legs.

The submission was appropriated in jiu-jitsu either by judo, called the Ashi Sankaku Garam, or by catch wrestling, known as the Coil Lock. Both styles were the main influences on the development of BJJ during its infancy.

For most of BJJ history, the move was part of the curriculum but was never considered especially practical and never seen use in competition.

Only in the 1990s, when Antonio ‘Nino’ Schembri started to use the Omoplata in competition, the move became more popular.

This also coincided with the change of the rules of sports jiu-jitsu, which also allowed the Omoplata to be used for sweeps and for them to be scored as such.

Today, the Omoplata is a widely utilized attack not only as a submission but also to set up for sweeps, armbars, triangles, and other possible transitions.

How To Do An Omoplata Lock

The most basic entry into the Omoplata is from a closed guard. The Omoplata is easier to pull off in a gi and has more entries so we will start with the gi version.

  • The first step is to obtain control of an arm and separate it from the opponent’s body.
  • Quickly angle to the side of the trapped arm and lift your leg on the opponent’s back, isolating the arm with both your leg and hand
  • Push the opponent slightly upward with your free arm to be able to free your other leg.
  • You can now stop using your hand to control their trapped arm and grab the shoulder or, ideally, the belt.
  • Make sure their elbow is bent, and the arm is in control. Extend your legs so you can posture up and reach a seating position, all the while your legs squeeze the trapped arm tight.
  • For the finish, try to force his shoulder closer to the mat, then start sitting up and move diagonally across their back to force the shoulder to hyperextend and get the tap.

There are a lot of details in an Omoplata and a lot to go wrong. The video presentation will give you a better idea of how the entire sequence looks, and you will need to work carefully on each step.

Furthermore, there are quite a few ways to reach the Omoplata position. Here is another great instructional:

All grapplers beyond the white belt know their elbows must be close to their body, so separating and isolating the arm is usually challenging. This can be done in multiple ways, like pulling on the sleeve in the most basic version or finding the right timing, like from a well-defended armbar or triangle.

Omoplata from Side Control

The Omoplata can also be done from side control. The setup is arguably more complex than the more accessible closed-guard versions, but it’s a viable attack nonetheless, as Rafa Mendes kindly shows us. The side control is where you turn and face the opponent’s feet.

Omoplata From Spider Guard

The nature of the spider guard means the opponent’s arm will be far away from their torso, making it a viable option to go from an Omoplata. The key here is to stretch the arm you will be attacking and move the other far away. The continuation is not so different from the standard closed-guard version.

Omoplata Sweep

The sweep is the common scenario and the primary purpose behind the Omoplata for most people. There are two ways the sweep happens.

The first is when you try to finish the Omo, but the opponent keeps a good posture and posts on his hand and knee. When you try to extend and stand up, and the opponent resists, you can use their posturing momentum to roll back and complete a sweep.

Then the other option, which is also very common, is for the opponent to recognize the Omoplata attempt early and roll forward out of it before you can start controlling his hips.

Now, this is a sure way to escape the submissions, but if you follow, you can quickly consolidate mount or side control, so even if you failed the submissions, you’ve earned a sweep.

Omoplata In No-Gi

Without the gi, the Omoplata is trickier. First of all, controlling the hand is harder without a sleeve grip, and second, even once you reach the position, there is no belt to control them with, which makes posturing much easier.

The main task in executing the Omoplata in no-gi is preventing the opponent from rolling. This can be done using the leg not trapping the arm. With the leg, you can hook his far side leg and prevent the roll, as shown in the first video.

The second option is to stop the roll with your hands and hips as soon as it starts, like in the second video.

As I’ve said, the Omoplata is a complex move with many possible variations, follow-ups, counters, etc. There are also a lot of small details that can derail your every attack, so the technique will require diligent work in different situations before you can start implementing it in live rolling and competition.

Here is another excellent, comprehensive video showing many of the possible options. There is much information quickly, but it gives a complete overview of the Omoplata for no-gi.


The Omoplata is a shoulder lock at its core, but it’s much more than that. The technique involves a lot of details and variations, making it difficult for beginners to use effectively. But these same qualities mean it’s a highly versatile move, which can be implemented and used for traps, sweeps, and finishes even at the world-class level.