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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

08 October 2014

08/10/2014 - Teaching | Women's Class | Armbar from Guard

Teaching #208
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 08/10/2014

We've covered the triangle, so tonight I wanted to add another fundamental attack from the guard, an armbar. First you need to isolate their arm. Easiest way to do that is to grab their wrist with your same side hand, then also grab their elbow. Pull their arm across and pin it to your chest. You're then going to put your same side foot on their hip, clamping the knee of that leg to their shoulder.

If they have a collar, grab that with your wrist-hand (keeping hold of their arm with your elbow-hand) and pull them down. If it's nogi, grab their head. Next, kick your other leg into their armpit, aiming to further break their posture and get your leg across their back. From here, you can then push their head out of the way and bring your hip-pushing leg over their head. Squeeze your knees.

To help with teaching this, I went with the sequence I learned from Sahid recently. It starts with drilling the leg positioning. In closed guard, your partner is going to put their elbow on the opposite side of your belt knot/belly button. Bring your leg on the same side as that arm up, so you can pin your knee against their shoulder. Your other leg kicks up into their armpit. Use that to turn your own body, also bringing their body down with the armpit leg. You can now bring your first leg over their head, keeping your heels pointing down (don't cross your legs).

Next, you're going to add in one of your arms. They aren't generally going to give you their arm, so you'll have to drag it across yourself. Reach across with your opposite side arm and grab slightly above their elbow. Still keeping your ankles crossed, lift your hips, then as you drop them, pull the arm across your body. You want to end up with their arm between your forearm and bicep, enabling you to clamp your elbow to your side while also pinning their arm. Your hand goes to your chest.

Step your knee up on their trapped-arm side, again pressing it into their shoulder. Make sure you don't raise that knee before you've pinned the arm, as opening your guard at that point may give them enough space to start escaping. Then finish as before, kicking your other leg up into their armpit, swivelling, bringing your first leg over their head and completing the submissions.

The third and final stage adds in a collar grip with your free hand (if they have a collar: if not, grab their head). Reach for their collar/head after you've pinned their arm, then pull them down. You can also use the elbow of that collar gripping arm to block the elbow of their trapped arm. That prevents them from trying to bring the elbow of their trapped arm to your other side hip, as that would scupper your armbar attempt.

Teaching Notes: Interestingly, when I was rewatching some videos on the armbar, a number of instructors don't do the armpit kick to swivel the body into place. Instead, they reach under the leg. That works too, but I tend to find that it's difficult to get the space for reaching underneath. If the other person is sat back heavily, there isn't room to reach under. However, it's a variation I kept in mind, for those who might have trouble with the armpit version (e.g., perhaps they had some issues with their leg and found it hard to push off like that).

As with the triangle, a common problem tonight was that people weren't extending, meaning that they get squished up on their shoulders. That makes it tough to apply either submission. So, I need to emphasise that push with the legs, as well as really knocking your partner's posture when you kick across with the armpit leg. I tried the John Will teaching method during the main class (I normally only do it at the end for a review), which I think helped: that way, I can try to pre-empt any issues people might be having, because I can see it clearly in front of me. I'll try bringing that structure in for the mixed classes too.

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