We’ve already covered a basic set of wrist and arm locks, now let’s take a look at one classic Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique, the omoplata. Unlike the classical armbar technique, where the joint under pressure is the elbow, this is actually a shoulder lock technique.


It is applied from the guard position, same as the armbar. To apply a proper omoplata, you can start by placing one leg under your opponents armpit, and one leg on their hip. Push off the hip, rotating the armpit leg (and therefore your body) 180 degrees. From here, you should be able to press down on an opponent’s shoulder using your armpit leg, bringing their face to the mat while raising yourself up into a more dominant position, locking movement of the target arm and shoulder. Applying pressure gradually will result in submission.

A great advantage of the omoplata is that while it can be applied directly from guard, it can also be applied (and more often is) from a failed armbar position. After initiating the armbar, trapping the target hand and moving your legs to extend out, let’s say they manage to free their target hand and steady themselves.


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Due to your positioning from the armbar execution, you are now perpendicular to them, and you still have control of the non-target arm between your legs. Instead of finishing the armbar, control the left arm, place it at your right hip. Plant your left foot on the mat and continue rotating until you are parallel with your opponent. Your right leg should now be on top of their shoulder, and you should have their arm firmly in your grasp. Press down until their left hand comes up to their left shoulder, forming a triangle with your right foot sticking through the gap. The opponent’s hand is then trapped between your hip and thigh, and you can now free one hand to grab their belt and prevent them from escaping the hold. You have now locked their shoulder, and prevented escape. By applying forward pressure with the right foot and hip, you can further rotate the arm to the point of submission.


Portland BJJ Technique: Omoplata Sweep

Once more, this is a potentially dangerous move, and should not be attempted without supervision. This is one of the more advanced locks, but it is a staple BJJ technique for many practitioners who wish to have a back up technique in case the arm bar fails.