Power and versatility are two perfect words to describe the omoplata. This Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique truly highlights the idea of constant submission threats along with smooth, fluid motions.
Similar to the history of the triangle choke, omoplata in BJJ has strong judo influences. The technique first came to light in Brazil as early as the 1930s by way of the aforementioned judo and even catch-style wrestling.
In its infant stages, many saw the omoplata as an ineffective move and was just there as a mere part of most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academies’ curriculum. In hindsight, it was just there for it being there: as a submission, neither a sweep, nor a setup.
According to Otavio Peixotinho, one of the great Carlson Gracie’s students in the 1970s, “the omoplata existed, but it lacked effectiveness. It was something you would try in training but not in comps.” He added: “I saw Rickson and Rolls competing plenty of times, even they wouldn’t put it to use.”
Fast forward to the mid-1990s, when the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Confederation (CBJJ) revised the rules of competition and allowed points for this situation. Many practitioners, most notably Antonio “Nino” Schembri, began developing the omoplata as a legitimate submission and a sweep rather than a plain shoulder lock.
Omoplata means scapula, or shoulder blade, in Portuguese. From the word itself, the technique applies pressure on the large triangular-shaped bone in the upper back by extending an adversary’s shoulder joint past its normal range of motion.
Arguably, the most common and most popular application of the omoplata is from the guard. The aggressor places a leg under his or her opponent’s armpit and rotates 180 degrees backwards, around his or her arm, exerting pressure by pushing it perpendicularly away from the back.
To further ensure a tap, the offense should also put a premium on controlling his or her rival’s body, often putting an arm around his or her waist, which ultimately prevents him or her from rolling and reversing the move. Also, practitioners began to effectively use the omoplata as a set up for sweeps, locks, and chokes among others from the bottom position.
Most of the time, an opponent’s first line of defense against a triangle choke is to hide his or her arm. This makes it a perfect set up for an omoplata finish.
From the triangle position, the offense pushes the defender’s head towards the opposite direction of his or her hidden arm. Remember to also use the palm of the hand, as well as the hips, to make space.
The attacker then places a foot in front of his rival’s face, if it is not there, he or she can use the foot on the same side as the hidden arm. Once secured, the offense should start rotating 180 degrees while controlling his or her opponent’s waist with the free arm.
In addition, the person doing the omoplata should point the knees towards his or her opponent, before lifting the hips off the ground to finish the submission. When all else fails, this technique will frequently present the opportunity for a sweep.
As with every trick in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu book, locking in the omoplata requires proper knowledge, regular practice, and fluid execution. The idea is to always think one, two, three, maybe even four steps ahead of the defense to secure the W.
Winning a world title in mixed martial arts is a rare, not to mention difficult, feat that catapults a fighter’s fame and legacy to new heights. However, having your name etched in a submission is a one-of-a-kind accolade on its own.
Jason Von Flue entered hardcore MMA fans’ consciousness after competing in the second season of The Ultimate Fighter, wherein he finished in the semi-finals, losing to eventual champion Joe Stevenson. Considered as an underdog during the competition, Von Flue, with grit and determination, still earned a UFC contract after the show’s filming.
In his first UFC bout after the show, Jason Von Flue went on to defeat season one competitor Alex Karalexis via technical submission, after he locked in a modified shoulder choke from side mount. From here, many people from MMA and BJJ circles christened what is now known in as the Von Flue choke.
Back then the unique and somewhat innovative move was foreign to the eyes of even the most experienced grapplers in the sport, as it does not really scream technique, but rather brute force. Still, a lot of MMA fighters, BJJ practitioners, and almost everyone in between, began incorporating and utilizing the technique, catching many opponents off guard in the process.
From the side mount, the idea of the Von Flue is to angle your opponent’s far arm shoulder to the ground as one side of the choke, while driving your shoulder into his or her carotid artery. The move entails a degree of timing, especially when going up against a more experienced adversary.
Probably another familiar way of applying the Von Flue choke is while defending the arm in guillotine. Common knowledge suggests that when escaping the guillotine, you should look to veer away from the same side as where your head is, as you do not want the choke to fall deeper.
Now in order to properly execute the Von Flue choke while defending the guillotine you need to reach your hand behind your opponent, all while circling around his or her body. Once you have achieved a stronger, more stable position, you then find the right angle on his or her neck and apply the necessary pressure to choke him or her out.
An important thing to remember when countering the guillotine with the Von Flue is to be in an arm in position. In the arm in guillotine, you have more leeway to thrust your shoulder in your opponent’s neck.
Currently, UFC Light Heavyweight fighter, Ovince Saint Preux gained notoriety and notability for finishing three of his opponents namely Nikita Krylov, Marcos Rogerio de Lima, and Yushin Okami via the Von Flue choke. There is even a clamor from some fans to change the technique’s name to “Von Preux.” All things considering, Jason Von Flue is still and will always be part of MMA and BJJ history. He may not have carried gold during his 10-year mixed martial arts career; there is still that remarkable accomplishment of – literally – etching his name as an innovator and a visionary of an effective grappling move.
Considered by many as one of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s most fundamental techniques, the triangle choke is a move we learn during our first week of training. Just like any other choke, lock, or any form of submission, it is absolutely necessary to add this hold to our arsenal, master the different methods, and apply it to our game.
The triangle choke we employ in BJJ traces its roots back to the early 20th century Judo. Two Judo masters from the famous Jigoro Kano’s dojo, namely Tsunetane Oda and Kanemitsu Yachibei Hyoe, combined their expertise to come up with a method of submitting and pinning their rivals with practicality and ease.
Oda got his 1st dan (black belt) after only one year of training, specializing in Katame Waza, or grappling holds, which was a far cry from Kano’s system focused on Nage Waza, or takedowns and throws. Together with Hyoe, Oda was influential in the development of Judo’s submission game.
At first, it seems that getting the triangle choke on an opponent can be a bit of a drag, which is why drilling is of utmost importance. With this, let us first understand the basics of how to do a triangle choke.
Let us say we are in the full guard position, we simply have to control one of our opponent’s hands and push it down so we can easily scoot our hips throw our corresponding leg over the back of his or her neck. From here, we have to lock the aforementioned leg to the back of our other knee, rotate to the side of the first leg, and squeeze.
The idea is to put pressure on our opponent’s carotid arteries, trapping his or her neck with our thigh (first leg) and his or her arm. It is also important for us to pull his or her head down and maintain control of the arm.
By now, we should be fully aware of the most basic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu positions. So aside from the traditional triangle, how do we apply this move from different angles?
A good way to set up the triangle hold from full mount is to try and get a reverse armbar. The key is to use this a decoy, an opening for one of your legs to slide under his or her neck.
Let us put it this way: once he or she blocks our reverse armbar attempt, we can drive our knee over their bicep, and let our foot pivot over, getting sort of a mounted triangle position. It is basically a triangle choke from the top.
As a white belt, it is nice to know that there are tons of submissions from the back other than a simple rear-naked choke. Again, it is all about setting up.
An essential trick to this is to have our heads tight with our opponents’ and put pressure on his or her trachea. As he or she tries to pull away, that is the point where we trap his or her arm (the side away from the ground).
From there, we can do a rolling kimura (or even an Americana) variation, but once he or she anticipates it that is when we move our leg (the side that traps the arm) over his or her neck and roll over to the other side. It will only get worse if he or she locks his or her hand tight.
Now that we have an idea on how to apply the triangle choke from different positions, it is also essential for us to know how to escape. As a rule of thumb, the most common, most effective defense to any form of submission is prevention.
We should always be aware of our adversary’s initial set up basically. However, if we were caught in a precarious situation, a few things to keep in mind are our posture and our framing off of their hips. As last resorts, so to speak, if we ever get further compromised on the triangle, we can opt for the elbow down escape and/or the knee pin escape. Again, these are our last resorts, as at the end of the day, prevention will always be better than cure.