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Omoplata: Sweep or Submission?

When you hit the Omoplata, do you go for the sweep or do you go for the Submission?
The Omoplata is a “Submission” technique, although it is used by those who like to play guard primarily as a sweep. It is possible to also use the Omoplata starting from top positions. Most of the time we see someone attacking with an Omoplata, and they end up getting a sweep and not the submission, even though it is a submission technique.
Often times, finishing the opponent with an Omoplata can be challenging because most of the time, once we start setting up the Omoplata our opponent is already rolling, giving up the sweep to avoid the submission. It is important to be aware of this tendency of our opponent when starting to apply the Omoplata. The first thing we should focus on, is avoiding the opponent to roll… If you attack 100% for the submission, the worst thing that can happen is the submission is lost and only the sweep is available. Therefore, I always recommend that you attempt the submission.
The Omoplata is a technique that may seem seem simple. However, to be used correctly there is many details and different ways to apple the position. It is possible to do it from Closed Guard, Open Guard, Butterfly Guard, Half-Guard, from the top, Mount, Side-Control, etc… Plus, there are many other variations like Gogoplata, Monoplata, Baratoplata, etc…. These variations apply the principles of the Omoplata in a different way.
I love the Omoplata because it is a very trick submission. On my High Percentage Submissions 4 Dvd Set” I show my two favorite Omoplatas (Click Here). Unlike an Armbar, Leglock, or another type of submissions that use explosiveness to finish the technique. The Omoplata is the type of submission that requires you to apply many different details to setup the finish as well as timing to reach the point that the opponent cannot escape and is forced into tapping. The key is always to focus on not allowing the opponent to roll, and to be able to do that I like to control my opponent’s belt and pants (pic attached).
Next, I try to climb my hand to the lapel under the armpit. After I secure the lapel. I hip escape to flatten him out, and the roll is not possible as a counter.
Like all positions in BJJ, I believe that one of the secrets to becoming very high level with a position; is always to try the position as many times as possible when you are training. For example, I remember one time in my career, back when I was brown belt that all I tried to do was Omoplatas during every roll, so little by little my submission success with the Omoplata became much higher.
(Related Post: Check Out this blog post with Vinicius Trator Ferreira. He shows an awesome omoplata from the Lasso Guard. – Click Here)

So here are my 5 favorite tips on how to use the omoplata:

1 – Try as many times as possible during the training: In the beginning, you may fail, but every time you try you will feel that you got a little closer. Soon you will start getting sweeps, and then later you will see that the submission is possible also.
2 – Focus on not letting the opponent roll out: This is the first chance to escape, so being aware is key. Do everything you can to avoid the opponent from rolling. Do not think too much about sweeping or tapping him, focus instead on avoiding the opponent from rolling. My favorite way to avoid an opponent from rolling, is by controlling the pants and belt.
3 – If the opponent is able to roll, make sure you follow and end up in the top position: This is important because if the opponent is able to roll and does end up on top of you, this can be the worst outcome for you (person who applied omoplata).
4 – Try to do the Omoplata from different positions: If you only have one way to setup the Omoplata, it will become easy to detect and defend. But, if you have many ways to attack your opponent with the Omoplata, it will not be expected. I would always suggest trying to find Omoplata from different positions, like Closed Guard, Open Guard, Half-Guard, on Top etc.…
5 – Believe in the submission: A lot of the time the Omoplata is utilized only to sweep and the submission is thought of second. If you do not believe-then your timing will be off and you run the risk of missing the right moment. Once you get the Omoplata and you feel that the opponent is trying to roll, follow the position and end up on top. Instead, hold the opponent down, avoid him to roll, be patient and little by little work until I get my right grips to get the submission.
I believe that if you follow these tips, it will help you to get Omoplata more often and get the submission. Let me hear from you guys in the comments. Do you like to use the Omoplata more for the sweep? submission?
Here is a video I made during my seminar in Saratoga – NY a couple years ago. During the sparing, I only did Omoplatas against the students. I hope you guys enjoy it.
Bernardo’s DVDs Instructional – Click Here
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Bernardo’s Apps Instructional for Mobile – Click here
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