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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

06 April 2016

06/04/2016 - Teaching | Mount | Armbar

Teaching #490
Artemis BJJ (MYGYM Bristol), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 06/04/2016

You've managed to move into high mount and get underneath their elbows. Reach your arm under their opposite forearm, past the crook of their elbow. Grab around their arm, so that you're gripping the tricep. You're then going to move into s-mount, in a motion that has some similarities to the technical mount switch. Pull the arm you've gripped across, creating space to slide your knee forwards. If you need additional base, post your free hand by their head as your knee comes up, swivelling your torso to face their other arm.

Your other knee does not raise off the ground. Instead, you're sliding it along the ground, then twisting and curling it around your opponent's armpit. If you do raise that knee, you're at risk of leaving enough space for them to escape. Keep the knee low. Leaning forwards once in position may help too, to maintain your balance.

Lock the arm to your chest, or secure it by grasping your own collar. Scooping up their other arm can be useful here as well, if you can, also giving you the option of switching sides if you need to. Some people will grip their curling-leg ankle from here, reaching under their opponent's head (which has the additional advantage of cross-facing them). This will depend on your leg length and flexibility: you'll want to be comfortable with the position first, which is an awkward configuration.

Keep your legs squeezing into them, then lean sideways towards their stomach. This is to lighten your knee-leg, so you can bring that over their head. Lean forwards, sliding down the arm you trapped at the start, staying close to their shoulder. From here you'll be looking to drop back for the armbar. However, that moment where you're bringing the leg over their head is also where you're at risk of giving them too much space (which is why Saulo recommends leaning forwards).

To prevent them turning into you, continue to lean into them, backstopping their elbow with your body. They need their elbow to turn, so don't let them have it. Grabbing their leg will make that even tougher for them, though note you'll normally need to switch arms for that. They will also try to bring their head into play, aiming to get to their knees so they can start stacking you. Use your leg to push their head away, so they don't have the posture to recover a strong position.

Finally, you will most likely find that they clasp their hands together in some way. There are numerous options for breaking the grip. The simplest and most universal is, I think, bringing your leg into the crook of their elbow and pushing the grip loose, combining that push with a pull from your arms. It isn't foolproof, but it seems to be the one that works most often for me. Drop back, squeezing your knees, then pull down on their wrist and raise your hips for the finish.

Teaching & Sparring Notes: This was feeling fairly good today, which I'm pleased with as it's still only the third time I've taught this lesson. People are continuing to raise their knee with the curling leg, but I made sure to emphasise that repeatedly, so I think it's getting less. Treating it as a slide and curl seems to help, as I'd hoped. I'll emphasise the lean even more next time. I've found it best to lean towards their legs and a bit forward (to make it harder for them to pull their arm free). However, quite a few people were trying to fling their leg over after they'd already slid down the arm, which also left their hips quite far from the shoulder. At the moment I'm switching arms so I can grab a leg, but I could also show the figure four grip instead for control. I might give that a go next time. Also, should I include the more complicated armbar grip break? I go with a simple kick into the elbow crook normally, but it would be good to show this one at some point too:

A photo posted by Artemis BJJ (@artemisbjj) on

Sparring was fun today, especially as it was odd numbers so I got to play too. In specific sparring, I tried an approach Saulo recommends on BJJ Library. Previously, I've always stayed low, with a similar posture and control to when I'm using low mount. Saulo's option is to remain upright, opening up their collar and using that to slide your arm down to the neck, thumb on top (which sets you up for several chokes, especially the Saulo choke and the palm up palm down choke). I wasn't generally getting close to choking, but it did make it easier to switch into either an armbar or technical mount. I'll have to try that against more experienced partners though, as I suspect I don't quite have the balance, or the defence against random legs flying in. I felt I had a lot more opportunity to attack, though.

I went for armbars a number of times, with an interesting progressive resistance experience going with Kirsty (W, not H). As I'm the instructor, she immediately went into heavy resistance. The main problem I had there was getting tight enough on the arm before she could pull it free. Another time, I had the arm, but she was able to get her legs into play to disrupt the attack. Come to think of it I should have asked more questions: either way, this confirms that when I have an opportunity to jump into progressive resistance, I should take it. In fact, I could even split people into groups, to make sure I get a go at progressive resistance? That could be a plan, as I've been wanting to get in more training and this would mean I get to drill too. However, I wouldn't want to cut down people's training time. I'll have a think: might be worth a go next lesson, as it has the plus side that you'd be doing progressive resistance against different body types too. I used to do groups of three back at PHNX, with one person in and the other two switching in. That could work.

In free sparring, I need to be careful of my neck. I was holding on to a kimura grip as I often too, which ended up with me swivelling underneath and getting a bit squished. I realised part way through and adjusted, which is good, but I don't want to be putting myself in those positions. I'd rather get passed than screw up my neck. I've messed it up so many times in the past, albeit only minor tweaks, but that means I'll have a sore neck for several weeks and affects my sparring. Also, I must remember to sit up when the opportunity arises in open guard, even if I'm still a bit underneath them. It will be good to get in loads of sparring at the GrappleThon this weekend (08:30-08:30 from the 9th April to the 10th, down at the London Wing Chun Academy near Wood Green), assuming my body holds out. Especially as I'll be training at the RGA Bucks open mat earlier that day, which is often quite hard on my weedy, low cardio body. ;)

Final thing I should mention is the Ana Yagues seminar we're hosting at Artemis BJJ on the 24th July. I'll keep mentioning it, but on the off chance I have any readers who don't also follow the Artemis BJJ Facebook page, everybody is welcome and it's only £20. Check the Facebook page for details. :D

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