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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

22 April 2015

22/04/2015 - Teaching | Mount | Americana

Teaching #314
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 22/04/2015

To begin the americana, grab their wrist with your opposite hand. Grasp their elbow with your other hand. Keeping both of your arms straight, lean diagonally forwards, using your weight to drive their arm to the ground (as per the picture, you can also follow Cindy Omatsu's example and use your head to add further leverage). The elbow of your wrist-gripping arm goes next to their head. Remove the grip you have on their elbow, then with your palm facing up, slip that hand underneath their elbow. As it slips under, turn your hand so the palm faces down.

With the hand you just slipped under, grab your other wrist. This means you now have a 'figure-four' on their arm, a solid grip. To complete the submission, keep your head down and lift their elbow, pushing their knuckles back in a straight line along the ground, like a paintbrush. You want to move their knuckles, rather than pulling their elbow down as well: that goes up (but only slightly), their knuckles go back. Also, keep the knuckles in contact with the mat.

You can also vary your angle, which will affect how far you have to push their knuckles. For example, Saulo Ribeiro teaches sucking the trapped arm in to their body, then lifting the elbow. His angle is such that he doesn't need to paint the hand back at all. It will also vary depending on the flexibility of your training partner's shoulder. Finally, you can try twisting your fists downwards, like you were revving a motorbike. That should further increase your leverage.

I also went through the variation I like from super high-mount. If you keep going up, until you are right by their head, you can squeeze your knees by their arms. That should hopefully mean they have an arm completely stuck, poking out vulnerably from your legs. Simply put on a figure four and bend that arm against your leg for the submission. Be sure to use the turn of your body, rather than purely your arms: you'll get more leverage that way.
Teaching Notes: Getting that arm in tight, might need to mention more. Also, I could talk about the under the head thing, locking that in then looping your arm around. That can happen quite often once people are looking for the americana, though it only came up today with one person (a cool visiting blue belt from SBG Penzance, Matt). But next time, I think I'll split this into two separate americana lessons: the basic one, with the orthodox application and potentially that under the head detail, then another class that covers the americana from super high mount into a back take. I'll test out the second lesson tomorrow, to start working out what to include.

People frequently raise their elbow too high when they begin with the americana. That's something I'd like to iron out in my teaching: it could be that's an instinctive thing that's always going to happen, or perhaps I'm not emphasising some element in my teaching. There are always at least a couple of people who try and apply it by sticking the elbow really high instead of the 'paintbrush' method with the knuckles. I'll see if I can change something up next time and then count how many people end up with the high elbow thing (though I guess it is possible to submit somebody that way, but not very efficient, at least in my experience so far).

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