Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Team History, Fighter Stats, Biographies and News

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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 name, Omoplata
Omoplata means scapula, or blade bone in portuguese, this because of the mechanics involved in the movement. In judo, the ashi sankaku garami means leg triangle entanglement.

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.

Best Omoplata Technique Instructionals
Notable Omoplata Jiu Jitsu Specialists:
Omoplata Attacks in action

Omoplata Highlight

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.

Bernardo Faria BJJ Foundations

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