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Introduction to the Omoplata (Artechoke in a Can)

Before we dig into this week’s Artechoke in a Can, be sure to check out the Indiegogo campaign for Matt “Aesopian” Kirtley’s Mastering the Crucifix and Reverse Omoplata. Click here to learn about the project and to get access to your free copy of 3-D Jiu-Jitsu.

When I had my second knee surgery, I vowed to revise my game so that I put as little strain on my knees as possible when I rolled. I had already given up on rubber guard, but after coming back I found that even fighting for triangles put too much pressure on my knees. If someone thrashed really hard to escape a triangle when I had it locked, my knees would pop and swell up, putting me out of commission for a week or two while I waited for the inflammation to go down.

As I moved away from triangles, I thought that omoplatas would be out of the question as well, but I found that a well-executed omoplata put little to no pressure on my knees. If my set-up was clean, I could attack with an omoplata without pain or strain, and I began adapting any triangle-esque set-ups to set-ups for omoplatas. Since then, they’ve become a bigger part of my game.

In this class, I introduce an incredibly basic omoplata attack, choosing instead to focus on the fundamental mechanics of positioning and movement of the omoplata rather than a super specific set-up. In my mind, getting the general idea of the omoplata down first creates a foundation for a multi-purpose omoplata game. So if this technique looks loose to you, that’s because it is. We start with a lot of space to make it as easy as possible to grow accustomed to the movements.

In this next video, we look at a basic omoplata finish. At the start of a submission-focused module, I really like to dig into the endgame first so that people know where they are trying to go before we talk about the thousands of ways to get there. For the new students, this approach provides a clearer picture of what they are trying to accomplish, and for veteran students, this approach gives us a chance to clean up some details.

For me, the key concepts here are to try and flatten your opponent out. If he is on his knees, he is likely to roll out of the attack, so our first course of action is to prevent the roll and close off that route by flattening him out. For the submission finish, we do the classic sit-up motion to apply Kimura-like pressure to the joint. The key that I emphasize here is to take the slack out of the joint. It can be hard to see in the heat of a roll, but I shift my weight away from his shoulder slightly, using my legs to put tension on his arm before I look for the finish.

I compare this to gift wrapping. If paper is tense, it’s really easy to slide scissors through it. If there is slack, even something as fragile as paper can be resilient.

Next week, we are going to cover some basic omoplata set ups from the closed guard.

Artechoke in a Can is the online version of Marshal D. Carper’s weekly no-gi class. Marshal is a purple belt under Sonny Achille at Steel City Martial Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he is the author of The Cauliflower Chronicles and Marcelo Garcia’s Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Techniques.

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