Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 22/09/2014
When teaching the Dave Jacobs shoulder lock last week, one of the points that came up is people bending their trapped arm back around your leg as soon as you secure the crucifix. That makes it tough to finish the Jacobs lock, but it sets you up for another shoulder lock, the reverse omoplata. The situation is therefore that you've already got into the crucifix (like this, if you missed the previous lessons), with their arm bent around your leg.
Base out on your far arm, then do a tight roll over your near shoulder, similar to breakfalling. You aren't looking to travel forward much with that roll: attempt to roll underneath yourself. As you roll, reach your near arm under their shoulder, aiming to grab their near leg. Continue the roll, making sure you still have their arm and leg trapped. They will normally roll too, due to the pressure on their shoulder. Be careful, as if you're too explosive you may put excessive strain on their shoulder: stay controlled throughout your rolling motion.
That roll should result with you in an upright position, while they are lying next to you. It's essential that you still have both their leg and their arm trapped. Continuing to lean into them, switch the arm you have controlling their leg, enabling you to move the other arm over their body. I'd suggest putting your elbow into their far armpit for control, as you want to prevent their ability to move.
Base on your far leg, keeping your near leg closely wrapped on their arm: if they are able to unbend their arm at any point, it's going to be really hard to finish the submission. If are able to straighten their arm, it's not disastrous as that puts you in side control with their arm trapped, a great position from which to launch a range of attacks. Assuming you have managed to keep their arm bent with your near leg, use the base from your far leg to keep bringing your hips back. This should eventually torque their arm to the point that they tap.
Teaching Notes: This class marks the culmination of my Mastering the Crucifix teaching experiment. That's because the reverse omoplata is something that the author of that book, Matt 'Aesopian' Kirtley, has been championing on Aesopian.com for a long time, with some notable success stories (like a guy who managed to learn the technique from Kirtley's site to the extent that he's even won MMA fights with it). He's always said that it is unfairly seen as complex, because it's something he learned on his first day and has been using ever since. I am very keen on basics: up until tonight, the reverse omoplata has been firmly in the "too complex for me" category.
However, I think I'm finally starting to come around to Aesopian's way of thinking, now that I've drilled the technique at open mat and taught a class of mostly beginners a few days later. I'd agree with him that it would be useful to "de-stigmatize the name", as he puts it in Mastering the Crucifix. I'd probably describe this as a 'crucifix rolling shoulder lock', which may or may not be less scary than 'reverse omoplata'. Either way, the mechanics are not as difficult as you might expect, especially if you're already familiar with the crucifix.
Aesopian teaches this with the assumption that you have to force their arm backwards. I simplified it by assuming they've already done that for you, in order to escape that Jacobs shoulder lock I went through before (Aesopian shows something similar in his troubleshooting section, as a way of baiting them into bringing their arm back). That meant I didn't have to teach the part about getting their arm into position, a good thing as there are a fair few moving parts to this technique already.
Everyone in class managed to get the concept ok, even the person who was having his first class (if he decides to stick with BJJ, I'll be very curious to see if he has the same experience as Aesopian, with the reverse omoplata becoming a long-standing part of his arsenal). The main point of difficulty was keeping the arm bent as you moved your hips back, so that's something I'll focus on whenever I next come to teach this. Another related problem is lifting your hips to get that torque without letting them free their arm. But as Aesopian mentions in his instructional, losing the arm means you're in a strong side control position, so all is far from lost.
There are probably some other drills I could use to help with the motion. I tried using breakfalling as a way of getting the motion down, as I think it's similar. I don't generally do much breakfalling, based on my girlfriend and a few others telling me that they found it off-putting in warm-ups. But it would be good to add in some kind of takedown element to the warm-up, at least occasionally, as a few people have asked for that. I'll have a think about the most widely applicable takedown: maybe a single leg? Something else for me to think about. I'll have a look on BJJ Library and see what Saulo recommends, as that's invariably a good supplement.
On a random note, until I was doing the blog labels for my open mat post from Saturday, I had completely forgotten that I've been taught the reverse omoplata before. Turns out I first learned it at RGA Bucks back in 2011. :)