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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

16 December 2015

16/12/2015 - Teaching | Women's Class | Armbar from Guard

Teaching #437
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 16/12/2015

For this fundamental attack from the guard, you first need to get control of their arm. There are numerous ways to do this, but in the interests of keeping things simple for drilling, a straightforward option is to grab their opposite tricep with your hand, then pull that across your body. You're then going to put your same side foot on their hip, clamping the knee of that leg to their shoulder (essentially you're trying to take away their space, as well as blocking them from easily pulling their arm backwards).

If they're wearing a gi, grab their opposite collar with your free hand (keeping a firm hold of their arm with your other hand) and pull them down. If it's nogi, grab their head. Next, kick your free leg into their armpit, aiming to further break their posture and get your leg across their back. You're also going to use that to swivel your own body away from their trapped arm and get a better angle. From here, you can then push their head out of the way with your head/collar grip.

That should make it easier to bring your hip-pushing leg over their head. Slide the arm you're using to control their arm up towards their wrist. At this point, you can switch to grasping their wrist with your hand if necessary. Squeeze your knees together, lift your hips and pull down gradually on their wrist for the tap.

A common problem is that your partner will 'stack' you up onto your shoulders, making it difficult (though not impossible) to finish the technique. This is a common problem with the triangle too. To prevent that situation, push with your legs, as well as really knocking your partner's posture when you kick across with the armpit leg. You can also 'walk' back on your shoulders to recover a more extended position if they are squashing you. Finally, angling the leg you have by their head can help (like on Adam Adshead's old DVD), as that makes it tougher for them to push into you.

If they do stack you, it's still possible to get the armbar. Swivel out as far as you can, then push on their leg. You'll end up spinning around their arm, putting you in a face down position. That enables you to bring your whole body to bear on their arm, resulting in a powerful armbar. Be warned that you need to be careful of getting bunched up underneath with this. If you misjudge it, you may end up carrying a lot of weight on your neck. Speaking from experience, that hurts, potentially messing up your neck for several weeks or even months.

Teaching Notes: I used Sahid's armbar drilling sequence as usual, copied below. I also decided to stick with the tricep grip where you drag across, which also means you don't have to switch arms to get the grip on the collar. It probably isn't as strong a grip on the arm as the elbow and collar, but it works well for drilling. If I get round to teaching this during closed guard month, that will be a good test, as there should be plenty of new people in January. If they have trouble maintaining control, I'll be able to experiment with some different grips to see which works best for a beginner.

As it was just Ruth tonight, I also went through a bunch of choke variations. We stuck with technique tonight, because I couldn't do a whole lot else given my arm is still recovering from that tattoo. Interestingly, the classic palm up/palm up choke caused some difficulties, so there is clearly a detail that is causing that trouble. I couldn't tell without seeing her do it on somebody else: it will be useful once we get back into normal class numbers after the quiet of xmas. ;)

Here are those notes (again) on Sahid's armbar drills. I think I include all of them this time around:

To help with teaching this, my training partner Sahid has a useful sequence. 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.

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