Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.
The omoplata is one of the most versatile submissions out there. You can set it up from a huge variety of different types of guard, and then use it to sweep, setup a different submission, or just to get the finish. Creativity plays a huge role in new setups for omoplatas, and new ones are being invented every day.
What follows are three completely different setups for omoplata, but all three are incredibly easy to start using right away. All of these setups are high-success, low-risk attacks that you can play with over time and get good at without too much risk.
From the Triangle
This is probably the most common way the average student starts using an omoplata, and might well be the first entry into omoplata that you use successfully while rolling. When you have setup a basic triangle choke, one common way to defend is to keep the arm hidden underneath, not allowing the "hips up, arm over" step to happen. From here (assuming your partner is hiding their right arm under your hips), your main objective is to get their head over to the other side of their body, away from you. There are three basic ways you can accomplish this.
First, you can simply push away with your hips to create space. Second, you can push with the palm of your hand, creating room for the following step. Finally, if you're flexible enough, you can simply bring your left foot in front of your partner's face. Ultimately, this is what you want anyway. Once you're here, it is often useful to use your right leg to push your partner's face away further. Next, hug your partner's hips so that they don't roll to escape. Now you have the omoplata setup.
Starting from a basic open guard position (both feet on the hips), if you can start with bicep control on the right side (like this shin on shin triangle setup), you can easily grab a lasso hook on the other side simply by circling with your left leg around your partner's bicep, preferably ending with a deep lasso hook. From here, even if you lose the bicep control, you just need inside control with your right knee in order to proceed.
Next up, get a cross-collar grip with your right hand to control your partner's posture. Release the sleeve grip with your left hand and immediately grab the triceps with a five finger grip (your hand is like a hook), blocking their wrist from swimming free. Now just kick through, straight into the omoplata! Pivot and control the hips as usual.
Simple Closed Guard Setup
Here's a simple "leg overhook," Shawn Williams, or "rubber guard" setup for an omoplata that doesn't require extraordinary flexibility to execute. Start with closed guard, with your partner's posture under control with both hands. Move your hips to your left side, causing your partner's right elbow to flare out. From here, keep your right hand on your partner's head in order to keep their posture under control, and then swim around your partner's left hand from behind their hand, ultimately swimming through the crack in their elbow.
Once your hand is through, reach up and over their shoulder and then—and here's the key—around your own left leg. The key to getting this to work without having to reach too far is going to be creating a superior angle with your hips, and then bringing your left knee forward. Once your arm is overhooking both your leg and their arm, you can grab their collar to stabilize the position (think of this as a bookmark of sorts.) From here, it's really just a matter of getting your foot in front of your partner's face, just like with the other two techniques. It doesn't hurt if you have the coveted inside control with your right knee.
Time to Play
There's so much more that the omoplata has to offer, but if you're relatively new to the technique, this will give you a viable starting point so that you can have fun and experiment with the position and submission.
If you've got some experience, hopefully, this has been a nice reminder of some good, fundamental options for setting up one of jiu-jitsu's most fun attacks. As always, let me know how it works out for you!
© 2016 Andrew Smith