The omoplata / Ashi-sankaku-Garami / Coil Lock… Different names for the same technique, consisting in extending the opponent’s shoulder joint using the hips and leg. The lock is quite similar to the Kimura (except it is made with the legs).

The omoplata (meaning scapula in portuguese) is a part of the beginner’s technique as well, because very used on the “armbar-omoplata-triangle” combo from the closed guard. This technique apparead in Brazil in the 1930’s, the position wasn’t very popular at the beginning of jiu jitsu competitions, it was known and learned but mostly used on the academies. Nobody would use it in competition, back in the days, because of a lack of effectiveness attributed to it. On the 1970’s CBJJ had rigid rules, and the omoplata was more a “submission only” technique. Then, when the CBJJ changed some rules, this technique was seen as well as a good sweep. People started then to reconsider it and to adapt it to a better use in competition. One noticeable omoplata player is of course Antonio ‘Nino’ Schembri. He was using this technique not only for the proper submission or for sweeps, but as well in combination with other submission such as armbar, chokes… That is how the omoplata got more popular and is, nowadays, a very taught move.


Shoulder anatomy

The shoulder is one of the most complicated articulation of the human body. It does imply an important amount of bones and muscles. The shoulder is an enarthrosis joint (aka ball-and-socket joint), means it is a three directions articulation: Circular, lateral, up and down. More an articulation is mobile, more complex and fragile it is. Let’s see how exactly how a shoulder is made.


  • Humerus

Long bone runs from the shoulder to the elbow. Only bone of the arm. The humerus is the “ball” of the “ball and socket joint”

  • Scapula

Flat bone, makes the posterior part of the shoulder, on the extremity is a cavity (Glenoid) where the humerus goes in to complete the joint. This cavity is the “socket”. The humerus-scapula joint is called Glenohumeral Joint.

  • Acromion 

Is a bony process on the scapula.

  • Clavicle

Long bone between the scapula and the sternum. Together with the Acromion, they make the Acromioclavicular joint.



  • Glenohumeral jointGlenohumeral joint

The glenohumeral joint is the main articulation of the shoulder joint. It is the ball-and-socket joint. This joint allows the arm to move circularly, vertically and horizontally.

  • Acromioclavicular joint

Between the clavicle and scapula. The acromioclavicular joint gives you the ability to raise the arm above the head.

  • Sternoclavicular joint

Between the sternum and the clavicle, the sternoclavicular joint allows the movement of the clavicle in three plans (upward elevation, anteroposterior movement, and rotation)

  • Rotator cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis muscles) and their tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder.

If you want to know more detailed about the shoulder, there is some more articles, here and here.

shoulder ligaments and muscles


So let’s see together the basic steps of the omoplata from the closed guard :

  • Break uke’s posture with your arms and legs
  • Move your hips on the side of the arm you want to attack
  • Continue to control uke’s posture, grab your leg, always on the side you attack
  • Grip uke’s collar
  • Open your legs and rotate your whole body of 180°, stretch your legs while you are completing the rotation.
  • Control uke’s body with your closer arm wrapping his hips
  • Point your knees towards uke
  • Raise your hips to finish the lock

Excecution omoplata

Few tips for it

  • Try to control your opponent as best as you can. Ideally his attacked shoulder should be on the ground. This will allow you to have more control and avoid uke to defend well. As well, your opponent will probably roll (classical defense), therefore controlling his hips will avoid him to escape.
  • Like almost every submission, try to do it from different positions. Most people know the classical attack from the closed guard, or from the triangle or armbar. But the omoplata is the same kind of lock as the kimura, so try to do it from different positions
  • If your opponent is able to defend rolling over, follow him and try to be on the top position. Eventually you will be able to recover at least with a side control, or even with an other omoplata.
  • Trust the submission, it might be loose sometimes, but the more you will practice it, the better it will get. It sounds obvious but loads of practitioner don’t use this  submission because they don’t manage to perfection it quickly.

I leave you here some video really good from several good BJJ Black belts. Here, here, here, here and here.


If you know how to defend a technique, you know how to trick your opponents and avoid their defense. Here are the two most common defenses :

  • Roll forward. While the other is attacking you and fixing his omoplata attack, try not to get your hips caught. It will allow you to roll forward and free your shoulder from the lock. Be careful because the opponent might take advantage of the roll to have a good position over you.
  • Shift over your opponent. Meaning that you should pass over your opponent, belly down, legs passing over his head. This will free you from the lock and eventually give you a side control.


Here some videos from other omoplata counters. Here and here.


Written by Around the JU

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