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Polar Vortex Omoplata Wrap-Up

Unfortunately, the infamous polar vortex interrupted the omoplata module and impeded some filming and updating. So this post will be a bit longer than usual for the sake of delivering on the promises that I made to my students and to the readers of this blog.

Early on in the module, I said that I wanted to explore the full potential omoplata rather than simply looking at it as an attack from guard. We managed to do that to some degree, but not completely, especially not by Clark Gracie standards. Two key positions that we did not have time to address: the omoplata from side control and the omoplata from mount.

What we were able to do was build part of the instinctual foundation that is necessary for starting to attack with the omoplata quickly from a variety of positions, especially in scrambles. In it’s simplest form, the omoplata requires one thing: a bent arm wrapped around your same-side hip. It doesn’t matter if you are on top, on bottom, upside-down or right-side-up. If you have that, chances are good that you can get the omoplata.

In this first drill, we look at isolating this feeling by exploring an omoplata counter to a (really really) bad double leg. I actually land this fairly often when I roll with wrestlers, but it takes a bit more work than this drill let’s on. What I am most concerned about though is helping my students develop the confidence and the feel to isolate the shoulder even if they are falling. It’s a bit of functional, controlled chaos.

In this next video, we look at attacking the omoplata while defending a single leg. This is not a ground-breaking entry by any means, but it’s one that pops up more than many people realize. Having the awareness and commitment to attack it in the midst of a scramble takes some drilling and practicing. Once you get used to rolling after an omoplata, your submission world starts to get a lot more creative.

Once you have the presence of mind to roll into an omoplata, you have the ability to chase the submission even as your opponent attempts to escape, countering their roll with a roll of your own. Two caveats: You don’t have to re-roll, especially if you feel like you are losing control of the arm and shoulder. Taking side control is perfectly acceptable. Also, you may end up in a weird position where you have the shoulder isolated but your opponent is sitting on his butt, rather than on his knees or on his stomach.

In the next video, we look at the re-roll and this odd sit-up position. Technically, you can finish the omoplata from here, but developing the feel for the angle will take some time. Your goal is ultimately the same from a submission perspective, bend your opponent’s arm behind his head like a Kimura, but the dynamics are odd at first. As you’ll see, controlling the opposite shoulder is still critical (just like if your opponent was turtled), but you may need to hip out slightly to get the submission.

Another scramble where you can start to attack for the omoplata is when you are attacking the armbar. You can transition to the armbar from guard as well, but in this case we look at the armbar from mount. As my partner slips one arm out of danger, the other arm comes into range. The trick to this is catching it early (and you’ll see me miss my opportunity in the video because I wasn’t paying attention). If the arm closest to your opponent’s head is occupied, use your free hand to pull your opponent’s arm to your hip. If the arm closest to your opponent’s legs is occupied, you will punch forward with that same arm to achieve the omoplata position. This motion will look similar to the “zombie” for any 10th Planet goofballs that might be reading this.

And finally, in 3-D Jiu-Jitsu fashion, we look at the reverse, going from the armbar to the omoplata. This particular entry came from a YouTube video I saw some time ago. Unfortunately, I forget who was teaching it, but I vaguely recall it being a Gracie Barra black belt. At any rate, I watched the video and thought it was utterly stupid. Not a move that would be practical. One day when I was goofing around, I went for it on a whim, and I now look for it all the time. I love it, especially in the gi.

Thank you for your patience with the omoplata module. I promise that we will get back on track next week with a new course.

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.

Bonus omoplata sweep!


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