The omoplata (in Brazilian jiu jitsu), also named ashi sankaku garami in judo or coil lock in catch as catch can, is a shoulder joint lock technique which utilizes the attacker’s legs and hips to manipulate the opponent’s shoulder joint to an extent that the joint reaches its maximal degree of motion, this can lead to a submission or force a reversal (sweep). The position became popular in the jiu jitsu circuit during the mid 1990’s thanks to the technical advancements of a competitor named Nino Schembri.
The History of the Omoplata in Jiu Jitsu
The omoplata appeared in Brazil either through judo or catch wrestling, both popular styles in Brazil during the 1930’s and 1940’s. The position was not seen as highly effective in the early days, but was part of the curriculum taught by most jiu jitsu academies.
When interviewed for this piece, Otavio ‘Peixotinho’ one of the great Carlson Gracie students of the 1970s and 1980s decades mentioned that:
The omoplata existed, but it lacked effectiveness. It was something you would try in training but not in comps. I saw Rickson and Rolls competing plenty of times, even they wouldn’t put it to use. – Otavio Peixotinho.
First with the ‘submission only’ style competitions and later due to the rigid jiu jitsu rules established by the Rio de Janeiro federation in the early 1970’s, the omoplata was regarded as a submission move only, and not as a set up for a sweep, remaining dormant in the competitive scene for almost 7 decades. It was only when, in 1994, the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Confederation (CBJJ) re-opened the rule book allowing points for this situation, that the omoplata started being seen also as a good option for a reversal.
The change in the rules of jiu jitsu’s sporting environment coincided with the growth in popularity of this ancient technique, a growth led by one competitor who revolutionized the guard game during the 1990’s, Mr Antonio ‘Nino’ Schembri.
Schembri opened the eyes of many fighters to the efficiency of the position, using it also as a set up not only for sweeps, but also armbars, chokes and other developments. Since the improvements made by Nino, many more have added their input, making the omoplata one of the most utilized attacks in modern day jiu jitsu.
- Nino Schembri
- Mario Reis
- Andre Galvao
- Eddie Bravo
- Rubens Cobrinha
- Ryan Hall
- Michael Langhi
- Michele Nicolini
- Clark Gracie
- Bernardo Faria
- Michael Liera Jr.
Mario Reis vs Rany Yahya
Clark Gracie vs Ken Primola
Andris Brunovskis vs Megaton
Ryan Hall vs Ben Eaton
The ashi sankaku garami in judo
Banner picture taken from the IBJJF facebook page.
Marcelo Garcia has an excellent dvd set on the omoplata as well