Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 18/11/2015
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.
Finally, Rener has a helpful tip on securing your base when going for the americana. He likes to slip his opposite side leg underneath theirs, twisting his hips slightly in that direction. That's worth giving a try if you find it difficult to stabilise the position when you're trying to finish the submission.
Teaching Notes: I forgot to mention about using the head to push down the arm, and I also don't generally get into the point about looping the arm around the head. Both worth throwing in next time. Also, as there was a new person in class, I ran through the upa escape too, which tends to be a good one to throw in for beginners.