Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.
Once upon a time, the omoplata was considered an advanced submission lock. This might sound kind of funny today, but in the late 90s, there just wasn't the level of understanding we have today. However, over time, the omoplata is often taught alongside the triangle, armbar, and Kimura lock as a basic submission.
Instead of making the position more routine or boring, the opposite has happened with a great deal of innovation from the position. As escapes get better and bolder, the finishes have adapted as well to make those escapes all but impossible. Here are a few of the nastiest omoplata submissions I've ever used.
Static Leg Trap
This first nasty finish happens right after you've set up your omoplata, with your partner's right arm trapped, and you're about to pivot to start finishing. As you're getting ready, your partner lifts up their far (left) knee, likely to start stacking you.
Take advantage of this incredible opportunity by hooking behind their left ankle, and then pivoting so that you can make a triangle with your legs. This trap keeps your partner from being able to roll, and in order to get the submission, all you have to do is straighten your legs (very carefully!). This shoulder lock is incredibly tight and all but impossible to escape, even for the most flexible of training partners.
Keeping the Hook and Rolling
Sometimes you're going to be able to start with a butterfly hook in with your right foot, while your left foot is moving into the classic omoplata position, in front of your partner's face. While at a glance, it might appear that your foot is going to remain stuck and make it tougher for you to finish the omoplata, here it's much more of an asset to the position. Instead of worrying about getting your foot free, force your partner to roll.
As they're rolling, you should be able to lace your free foot all the way through, either triangling your legs, or establishing an over/under position of sorts, very similar to the over/underheel hook set up. To add insult to injury, pull their foot toward you if you need help finishing. This will be among the tightest shoulder locks you've ever done to anyone, so use caution!
Here's a good look at how you can set this leg trap technique up about halfway (only one foot is hooking behind their knee initially), and then your partner can roll ahead of you. As long as you roll along with them, even if you're just a little behind them, timing-wise, you can still set this up as the roll finishes. Just allow your hook to slide down to their ankle. This will allow room for your other foot to hook behind their knee, or, alternatively, you can make a triangle with your legs, locking your partner completely in place.
The Arm Trap
This third and final submission relies on you trapping your partner's upper body with your leg positioning. Start with a basic omoplata set up. From here, you want your partner to post momentarily on the ground, leaving you enough space to shoot your foot through underneath their armpit.
Now it's the same concept as the leg trapping omoplata finishes, where you want to extend your legs away from you slowly. Your partner's shoulder will be locked out just like a traditional omoplata finish, but they're likely to tap a great deal more frequently because of the total lack of mobility.
I always advise caution any time a new submission is learned and these are no exception; in fact, they're prime examples of why I do this. There's a great deal of leverage from all three of these positions that you might not expect under other circumstances. No previous experience really prepares you for these three nasty omoplatas, so be sure to be ready to tap early, and be sure your partner understands how powerful these techniques are. As always, enjoy the training, and please do let me know if you're able to execute any of these moves!