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3 Shoulder Locks You Must Know For Successful BJJ Submission

3 Shoulder Locks You Must Know For Successful BJJ Submission

When we think about successful BJJ submissions, shoulder locks are indispensable to consider. The shoulder locking techniques plays a crucial role in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If you properly learn these shoulder locks, these forces the opponents to tap out. In case they do not tap out in time, these shoulder lock ups can cause severe shoulder muscle and joint injuries. Both Gi and No Gi BJJ events allow its use, but only under the restrictions and guidelines established by the IBJJF.

You can increase the chances of successful BJJ submissions if you know when and how to use shoulder locks up. Here we are going to explore the introduction of shoulder locks and details of the three strongest shoulder locking ways.

What Do Shoulder Locks Mean?

Shoulder locks in Brazilian jiu jitsu target the shoulder joints, forcing the opponent to submit. A lot of BJJ competitors prefer to attack the shoulder joint because it is one of our bodies’ most flexible joints.Tarikoplata, omoplata, and kimura are some of the submissions that work perfectly to knock out the opponent.

Are Shoulder Locks Legal In IBJJF?

According to the IBJJF’s rule sets, shoulder locks other than the omoplata are acceptable. For grapplers over the age of 16, regardless of belt color—from white to black—even can perform omoplata. However, the bjj kids’ grapplers cannot execute the lock arms or shoulder locking. Therefore, in all BJJ events, if you’re an adult, you can use any shoulder locks that do not intentionally harm the opponent.

Shoulder Locks You Must Know For Successful BJJ Submission

In BJJ competitions, shoulder locks are regarded as one of the most effective methods of getting an edge over opponents. This armbar or the shoulder locking forces opponents to tap out quickly. The following list includes some of the most powerful shoulder locks that every BJJ competitor should know.


The Kimura lock is regarded as the backbone of Brazilian jiu jitsu, thus, mastering it is crucial if you want to be one of the best BJJ fighters. This is the greatest choice if you had to choose only one submission. Arm bar, shoulder lock and joint lock techniques help the players combat the jiu jitsu gi and win the competition. The kimura lock is one of the most versatile and robust shoulder locks from any posture. Even if you know how to set up a kimura grip, this is beneficial in combat.

You can even use the Kimura shoulder lock to assist you in completing sweeps or takedowns. This explains why grapplers place a high value on this move and base their entire strategy on it.

History of Kimura

Before the jiu jitsu gi sport emerged, the Kimura technique was limited to submission wrestling. This move is commonly known as a double wrist lock in submission wrestling. The ude garami is another name for Kimura. Before the legendary match between Helio Gracie and Masahiko Kimura, this move was not particularly famous or well-liked in BJJ.

Masahiko Kimura challenged Helio to a wrestling match while he was in Brazil. Utilizing this shoulder locks up, Kimura overpowered the smaller Gracie. As a result of his refusal to tap out of that battle, Gracie shattered his arm twice. The kimura lock gained popularity after that match and is now regarded as a crucial weapon in the BJJ fighter’s toolbox.

Are Kimura Locks Capable Of dislocating Shoulders?

Yes, this is possible if you use the kimura lock to submit your opponent for a prolonged time. They may sustain shattered arms like in armbar or dislocated shoulders due to Kimura. The tapping motion gives you a good idea of how much pressure you apply to the opponent. Shoulder dislocation and arm breaking can happen if you don’t get away or tape out too late.

How To Execute?

Although the kimura lock is executed from a number of positions, most BJJ competitors start off in full guard. Here are the methods to successfully apply a kimura lock from a full guard position to force your opponent to tap out immediately.

  • You can start by holding your opponent’s arm on the same side of your body.
  • Now, with the hand closest to your opponent’s head, firmly grasp the wrist of the controlling arm.
  • Your opponent’s arm should be pulled upward with their elbow facing you as you grab their wrist.
  • In this situation, exercising control is crucial. To do that, put your other arm through your opponent’s elbow and seize the wrist of the arm on the other side. Ensure you maintain control by pressing your opponent’s elbow and trapped arm firmly into your chest. Losing control can enable your adversary to escape the situation or even attempt a reversal.
  • Now, without much effort, rotate your torso to apply pressure to your opponent’s shoulder.
  • To force your opponent to tap out, quickly complete all the steps mentioned above.


One of the most significant shoulder locks is omoplata. You can employ this versatile technique for a variety of goals, such as submissions, crossovers to other positions, or submission-related moves. This lock bar hold is common not only in BJJ but also in MMA, catch wrestling, Sambo, and Judo.

History Of Omoplata

The omoplata, also known as the Ashi Sankaku Garami, originates in Japanese judo. When Judoka had no other alternatives, this was their final option. Between the third and fourth decades of the 20th century, this technique in BJJ gains its popularity.

However, we can credit athletes like Nino Schembri, a Black Belt under Carlos Gracie Jr., for the popularity of this move. At first, the majority of BJJ practitioners of Gracie Jiu Jitsu dislike it. In the 1990s, Nino Schembri discovered omoplata’s effectiveness and started using the technique in his competitions. At that point, this technique began to play a significant role in BJJ submissions.

How To Execute?

Here’s how to execute an omoplata in various positions.

  • Omoplata’s basic setup begins with a closed guard.
  • To isolate your opponent’s arm after being in the closed guard posture, you must make a deep overhand hook. You must also hold your opponent’s other arm at the wrist simultaneously.
  • Move quickly from blocking the opposite arm to a palm-facing position to force their face away from you. Then quickly transition to a side guard stance on the same side as the hooked arm.
  • After clearing off the opponent’s head with your top guard leg, lay your leg on the hooked arm above the shoulder blade.
  • Instead of attempting to grab your opponent’s hips with your lock arms, try to grab them with the opposite side.
  • To release your arms, twist your knees together and extend your legs. Lie flat on the ground in a parallel position to your opponent.
  • The next step is to tighten the wrist on the locked arm using your free hand.
  • When you’re ready to start backing away from the opponent, draw your legs lower until they are parallel to the ground.


 BJJ gi is one of the most adaptable sports where you may select or create a new submission technique to defeat your opponents. One of the best shoulder locks in this regard is Tarikoplata. The Tarikoplata is a joint lock that isolates the target opponent’s shoulder and elbow joints. The attacker also uses the leg and lock arms frame to gain leverage over the target joints.

History Of Tarikoplata

Tarikoplata was introduced in the middle of the 2010s by Tarik Hopstock- a young BJJ competitor from Norway. Under the instruction and guidance of a Brazilian black belt Eduardo Rios, he created the idea for this shoulder lock.

How To Execute?

In tarikoplata, you begin from the bottom of the Z guard and for either starting position. It is essential to have good frames to prevent pressure from the opponent.

To prevent your opponent from stopping the submission, you should move their head away and position your knee in front of their face. This technique will allow you to assume control over the situation. The second action you should take is to use your free hand to underhook the opponent’s arm. Bring their elbow to your chest while holding onto it as well.

Position your leg above your adversary’s shoulder and rotate your foot around their shoulder and head. Then the next step is to plant your foot on their hip. You can attempt a kimura hold from this posture, which will make your opponent tuck their arms. You have the opportunity to try the Tarikoplata shoulder lock now. To do it, you must lift your hip over your shoulder while moving up on your shoulder. You may move the lower leg and push through it. After that, try hooking your leg over your adversary’s arm by pointing your heel upward.


Selecting the right shoulder lock can help the BJJ players in successful BJJ submissions. It compels the opponents to tap out. The powerful shoulder locks that include Omoplata, Kimura, and Tarikoplata are highly successful in completing submission attempts. You can become a pro at any shoulder lock to get the edge over the others and win the jiu jitsu competition.