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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a brown belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©2004-2022 Can Sönmez

27 June 2022

27/06/2022 - Teaching | Back | Armbar

Teaching #Evening
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 27/06/2022



Along with chokes, armbars are another good option from the back. You have the usual seatbelt grip, with one arm under their armpit, the other over their shoulder. Chop your hand up between their elbow and torso, to then wriggle through and grab their shoulder. Reach your foot on the armpit side over to the opposite hip, hooking around with your instep. Use that to swivel: you can also add in a swing with your other leg to help the rotation, much like with the bow and arrow choke.

You can also push off the floor if you prefer. As you turn, bring your free hand to their head and stiff arm it away. Keeping their arm tight and your bum close to their shoulder, bring your leg over their head. You could also try shifting into a more bow and arrow position: the leg going over the head is usually the biggest risk in this technique, as that is where you're liable to leave the most space.

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Finally, adjust your position if necessary (e.g., scooting your hips in closer to their shoulder in order to prevent giving them any space), squeeze your knees then gradually drop back. Don't let go of the figure four until the last moment, moving up to the wrist. Raise your hips and pull down on the arm to finish. Make sure their thumb is pointing up (if it isn't, you can still finish the armbar, it's just a bit more awkward as you have to angle based on their elbow).

To add further control, you can put your leg higher on their head, making it more difficult for them to raise their head up. If they do manage to turn in towards you, you're in a good position to move straight into a triangle from guard. Quite often they will also link their hands together: there are many methods for breaking the grip, but one I like is simply kicking their grip apart (making sure you aren't giving up too much control in the process).

Another option for putting them in position for the armbar is to put both your feet on their hips and push them down. That way, there is much less distance for your leg to cover when you're trying to bring it over their head.

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You'll most likely have to break their grip as they defend against the armbar. The simplest is putting your foot in the crook of their arm, pulling with your arm as you push. Alternatively, reach through around their arm to grab your own hip, then lean off to the side and back in a semi circle. Finally, there is the complex option, where you reach you hand that's by their head through. Your other arm goes in front of their elbow, gripping your hands together. Twist to open. If that is too awkward, reach both arms through parallel, achieving the same kind of pressure, if to a lesser extent.

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Teaching Notes: Matt H once again had an armbar grip break for me to try. This time, your arm nearest their legs loops through under their arm, aiming to grab your hip (that's nearest their head). If you can't get all the way to your hip, wriggle your way there gradually. You can also try really jamming it through, to maximise reach. Once you've grabbed your hip, lean towards their head, adding power and leverage.

However, that isn't as clean as the twisting grip break, which is all leverage. Also be aware that there are tougher grips to break than hands together. If they grab their gi and protect that with their other arm, even harder to loosen up.

There is quite a lot to fit in with the three grip breaks, but still worth mentioning that a common method they've use to escape is pushing either your leg off their head, or shoving your other leg down towards their legs. There is a lot of detail I can go into with armbars, so the question is how far to go with that. Probably enough to split across two classes, but meh, you have the introduce the armbar some time, so then again, not good to overload with detail.

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