Omoplata Troubleshooting in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Updated on April 8, 2020
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Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

The Omoplata Submission: One of the Easiest to Attain, But Most Difficult to Finish

If you've ever struggled with breaking down someone while you have them in an omoplata submission, this is the tutorial for you. The omoplata is one of the submissions that is the easiest to catch a person in, but among the most difficult to finish. A little bit of troubleshooting can therefore go a very long way.

Here are some of the most common types of resistance you're likely to encounter from the omoplata, and then some ways to deal with these roadblocks, either finishing a submission or a sweep.

Cross Grip Breakdown

Once you've caught the omoplata (and setting it up is a completely different story; here are three easy options for that), one extremely likely spot of trouble is when the person just can't be broken down via the conventional methods. Here's where the cross-grip breakdown comes into play.

  1. Start by reaching across your partner's body, either grabbing their belt (if it's tied tightly), or else their lapel (or just their hip if you're training no-gi).
  2. From here, the general concept is to hip away from your partner by putting your foot on the floor, while continually pulling their far hip toward you.
  3. While you're doing this, try reaching down with your free hand to block your partner's knee or pants leg so they can't follow you.

Hip Sweep

Sometimes you're dealing with the immovable object, trying to break your partner down to no avail with the cross-grip sequence. The good news is that there is a very simple sweep you can hit on your partner from here.

  • Observe that your partner has to have their weight on their far leg in order not to be broken down by the omoplata. This means that a "hip bump" style sweep will work extremely well.
  • Simply hop over your partner at a 45-degree angle, bringing your partner's shoulder away from their body in the process.
  • Note: go slowly the first few times you do this with any partner, as it can unintentionally torque the shoulder.
  • Below is a full-speed version, so you can see the action-reaction component that really facilitates the sweep.

Stopping the Stack

If you've ever been stacked while setting up or getting ready to finish an omoplata, you know how frustrating this can be.

One very simple way to prevent this is to simply step on the foot that is in front of your partner's face; this will give you enough of a frame to stop even a much bigger person from driving their weight into you.

This is a must-have technique if you're less flexible, because the stack can put unwanted pressure on your knees and hips while you are getting into the omoplata.

Note: I first learned this technique as stepping on your partner's face, but have since adapted it to be considerably less rude with this technical series.


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Submission vs. Position

As alluded to earlier, the omoplata is relatively easy for you to enter into, but relatively difficult to finish against a resisting opponent. This contrasts heavily with a straight armbar or Kimura, which can generally be finished a high percentage of the time. Consequently, it pays to study a bit of troubleshooting with the omoplata position so that you can ultimately get the submission or sweep.

I do believe that it's incorrect to simply view the omoplata as a position, though. Instead, think of it first as a submission, and constantly threaten to finish your partner. This will result in more frequent sweeps, because your partner will have no other choice than to respect the threat of the submission (and hey, if not, go ahead and finish them, by all means!).

As always, I'm eager to hear from you. If you've had success with any of these techniques, or if you're stuck on a particular detail, or want more info, just reach out to me, and I'll be happy to help out. Happy training!

© 2017 Andrew Smith


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