Omoplata Armlock Submission in BJJ

Omoplata Armlock Submission in BJJ

In BJJ, the Omoplata Armlock is an effective submission that went through a revolution of sorts. In it’s early days, it was seen as low percentage and barely used by BJJ practitioners.

Today, it is considered as one of the most versatile techniques in BJJ. Below we’re going to detail everything you need to know about the Omoplata. From its origins and how to set it up from nearly every position! Check it out!

The Omoplata's Origins

The Omoplata was actually not originated in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This move was used in Judo and passed over to BJJ as it was being developed. In Judo, the Omoplata is referred to as ashi-sankaku-garami, which means triangular entanglement. It's also used in catch wrestling and is referred to as a coil lock, because it looks similar to a metal coil bending.

The name Omoplata in Portuguese means scapula and has been taught since the beginning of BJJ. It was taught in school curriculums, but many considered it a low percentage armlock and didn’t use it.

The CBJJ(Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation of Brazil) for almost 70 years listed the Omoplata as a submission move only. The sweeps or reversals that come off the move had not been developed yet.

Its effectiveness wasn’t recognized until 1994, when the CBJJ changed their rules on the Omoplata. From then on sweeps off Omoplatas were given points, when before it was just a sub attempt.

A man that helped revolutionize the Omoplata was Antonio “Nino” Schembri. He made the Omoplata one of his main attacks in his game. Not only was Schembri subbing people with it, but he was also getting other subs and sweeps off the Omoplata.

Later on other all time great grapplers like Cobrinha Charles and Clark Gracie would use the Omoplata in their game. Today, Omoplata is a universally taught move in BJJ and is hailed for its effectiveness.

How to do the Omoplata Armlock

There’s a few different ways to do the Omoplata and can do it from different positions. First, we take a look at the basics - how to do the move and how to do its different variations.

To perform the basic Omoplata, you need to hook your leg around the opponent's shoulder. The next step is to sit up and grab the opponents waste to stop them from escaping. Your opponent will be in the turtle position and you’re going to lean on them and flatten them out.

When you lean on the opponent this puts pressure on their shoulder forcing the tap. Different instructors teach to either triangle your legs or not, but neither is a wrong way of doing things.

Omoplata from the Guard

The basic Omoplata Armlock from the guard is actually very simple to perform. First, you need to isolate an arm of your opponent by circling your hand inward and outward. You do this motion to hook an opponent’s arm around your leg.

Next, you control their arm and hook your leg over their arm. Right after this you will turn your body 180 degrees and face the same direction as your opponent. From here you’re going to sit up and grab around the opponent's hips to prevent them from rolling out .

To finish the Omoplata, you’re going to lean into the opponent forcing them to tap. When you lean into them this puts a lot of pressure on their shoulder. Simple yet a very effective submission!

Check out Bernardo Faria showing how to do an old school Omoplata below.

Omoplata from the Rubber Guard

Popularized by 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, the rubber guard opens up a variety of different kinds of attacks. A real easy one to get to is the Omoplata Armlock Submission. 

If you know how to do rubber guard, then there’s only a few steps to get the Omoplata. In rubber guard, when you bring your foot over the opponent’s head, the Omoplata is right there. Their shoulder is already isolated, so go through the last few steps to finish the Omoplata.

For a visual, check out 10th Planet black belt Rick Marshall take you through the steps.

Omoplata from Side Control

There’s a few different side control, but here’s one gi option. First, you’re going to go to a reverse kesa gatame base. From here, you’re going to take the opponent’s near arm and put it between your legs.

You need to put the opponent on their stomach to finish the Omoplata Armlock and there’s two ways to do this. You can either back step over there or do a front roll. For both you’re going to either have a sleeve grip or control them at their elbow.

Here’s Jean Jaque Machado showing the back step version:

Omoplata from Mount

Here’s a method to get an Omoplata from mount. Take a high mount and bait the opponent by giving them an underhool and you take an overhook. They will try to bridge and roll to escape, but this opens space for your leg.

Let the opponent roll over and sink in the Omoplata. Check out Nino Schembri show his method to get an Omoplata from mount below.

Key Details to Consider

  • Hook at their Scapula - To make the Omoplata work, you need to hook your leg around their scapula, just above their elbow. If you hook low, they can swim easily swim their arm out of the submission
  • Control the Elbow - To have proper control of the Omoplata, you will need to control your opponent's elbow. This keeps the arm in place for the submission
  • Control the Hips - When you sit up, you will need proper control of the hips. If you don't secure the hips, your opponent can easily roll forward to escape!


The Omoplata Armlock is a fantastic submission to learn. There’s so many possibilities that can come from knowing this move. Not just finishing the submission itself.

With the Omoplata you can get sweeps or other submissions off of this move. You can also go to an Omoplata  from various positions, as well. Omoplata to triangle, armbar, kimura, wristlock, reverse armbar, or vice-versa.

This submission really does open up a variety of possibilities in your BJJ game. Master this one and you'll be one dangerous grappler to deal with!

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