This is a review of the “Enter The Arm Dragon” online instructional by BJJ black belt Ashley Williams that focuses on dissecting arm drags.
The arm drag is one of the staple motions of grappling, and most notably, wrestling. In wrestling, it works perfectly at all levels, from kids wrestling to Olympic level wrestling. That makes it a perfect fit for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, particularly when used as originally intended – to enter into powerful takedowns.
Enter The Arm Dragon Ashley Williams Instructional
The one issue with the arm drag for BJJ is that you can’t find many resources out there to truly understand it. Unless you have access to a top wrestling coach who is willing to help you, you have to search online. So far, there haven’t been many detailed digital instructional. “Enter The Arm Dragon” by Ashley Williams changes that.
I found this instructional to be just as good for wrestlers as it is for Jiu Jitsu athletes. It is extremely detailed, perfectly structured, and covers all the important aspects of the arm drag without dwelling on non-useful aspects of the move. The fact that it is an online instructional is also very convenient because you can access it from anywhere.
In the following review we cover everything Ashley Williams demonstrates and teaches in this instructional. Williams provides the perfect structure so the review simply goes chapter by chapter to reflect our experiences with the content.
The way Ashley structured this instructional starts with an introductory part to the arm drag and getting optimal grips. he then goes on to cover different angles and level changes before dissecting the actual drag itself. Only then does he talk about takedowns, and the drills to help you learn everything quickly.
Keep reading to discover what the “Enter The Arm Dragon” instructional contains and can do to help you improve your grappling arm drags
What To Expect From This Online Arm Drag Instructional
This Ashley Williams arm drag instructional will help you understand why and how arm drags work, as opposed to just providing techniques and sequences based on the move. In other words, you will base your knowledge on reliable mechanical nuances, rather than step-by-step techniques.
This means that you will be able to apply actual arm drags in the chaos of sparring or a match. In fact, you will be able not just to use them to control and take people down when standing, but also employ them to attack form the guard.
This is precisely the reason why this instructional is so good. Ashley Williams did not only cover an area of grappling that needed precise instructions but did so in a very unique manner. After going through the chapters in this instructional, you’ll be dragging people at will regardless of the presence or absence of a Gi.
Detailed Review Of The “Enter The Arm Dragon” Ashley Williams Instructional
Let’s take a look at what “Enter The Arm Dragon” instructional brings to the table, apart from a very cool name.
Chapter 1 – Grip Fighting (~15 minutes total running time)
The opening chapter starts as an introduction to the entire course. After talking shortly about what the goal and structure of the course is Ashley Williams moves on to the classes, of which there are 4 in this chapter.
The first class covers the key concept of the thumbs up vs. thumbs down rule which concerns grips placement. Ashley covers very compelling reasons why the thumbs down grip is the one to use, and how to connect it to the thumbs up grip into a mini system.
The second lesson covers the astutely named “Snowball concept”. It basically means that whenever you get into a loop of gripping and your partner stripping the grips (the snowball effect), you use their reactions and clever tricks to get your goal – an arm drag.
The third and fourth lessons cover two more key aspects of grip fighting – creating a 90-degree angle in the arm and dealing with the “drag for drag” situation where both you and your partner are attempting the same thing.
Chapter 2 – Angles (~ 5 minutes total running time)
In this crucial chapter, Williams goes over two common arm drag conundrums that have everything to do with angles.
The first one is the “merry go round” which basically happens when you get stuck, similarly to the drag-for-drag situation covered in the first chapter. Ashely knows how to prevent this by utilizing the correct angle that removes the option for this scenario.
The second one is the footwork that will put you in place to get arm drags at will and keep you safe from attacks or counters. All the information in this volume and this instructional in general builds on top of the information in previous chapters.
Chapter 3 – Level Change (~ 20 minutes total running time)
Changing levels is a skill everyone involved in combat sports must master. In the realm of takedowns, it is absolutely essential. The introduction to the subject is quickly followed by the philosophy of the partial vs. the full level change.
In the following chapters, Ashley connects this concept with arm drag entries into the single leg, double leg takedown, and the body lock. This is the most important part of the instructional as far as I am concerned. Getting into position for a takedowns is the hardest part of any takedown setup.
Before wrapping this chapter up, Ashley Williams goes over the full level change and how it applies to everything that is already covered.
Chapter 4 – The Arm Drag (~ 12 minutes total running time)
Halfway through the online instructional, it is finally time to address the actual ins and outs of the arm drag. Williams starts with the anchor concept, which is something nobody has explained in such a manner (at least to me) so far. Basically, this is why arm drags makes sense at a foundational level.
While the concept of the anchor is not a difficult one to comprehend and get to, maintaining it is a different ball game. That is precisely what Ashley covers in this chapter as well, leaving nothing to chance.
Before this chapter warps up, we also get to learn why and how we need to move in a linear fashion when dragging, as opposed to a rotational one.
Chapter 5 – Drive Angle (~ 10 minutes total running time)
The angle of the drive during an arm drag is something we don’t often consider. In this chapter, Ashley explains the pivotal point between the ability of taking your opponent down, and them changing the angle to prevent you.
Instead of just pulling with the drag, you ultimately want to set up a takedown, which is why you need drive. Speaking of drive you need the right angle, which Williams easily explains by using the “pushing the prowler” analogy.
Using your head to aid with the drive angle is something that wrestlers take for granted, and BJJ folks never even consider. It is the missing link in why most of your arm drag setups of takedowns have been unsuccessful in the past. Williams takes care of t in detail in this chapter.
Chapter 6 – Finishing The Takedown (~ 15 minutes total running time)
Finishing the actual takedown should require the least effort if you’ve set everything right up to that point. That is exactly what is covered in the first lesson of this chapter, where Ashley pinpoints the make it or break it point of every arm drag-driven takedown.
What I particularly love about the “Enter the arm dragon” instructional, and especially this chapter, is that Ashley is completely realistic about the chaos of executing takedowns.
Namely, he covers common scenarios like chasing each other with your opponent before making sure you finish. The cherry on top, as Ashley Williams puts it.
Chapter 7 – Drills (~ 5 minutes total running time)
The penultimate chapter in this instructional covers how to practice everything that has been presented in this instructional. He covers the timeline of learning and applying the information shared before, as well as setting up drills and using it all in live sparring.
Chapter 8 – Bonus Material (~ 25 minutes total running time)
The bonus material chapter actually contains a full instructional on arm drags – this time done with the Gi. This is where Ashley Williams covers the Gi version of the arm drag by explaining the collar drag takedown.
Across 6 chapters, he goes over everything, from grips and anchoring to using bluff moves like “fake Judo” and ways to complete the takedown. This bonus instructional is a great one to tie in with the instructional, given that they could work in unison with the Gi.
A Few Possible Alternatives
To be honest, I don’t have plenty of arm drag instructional alternatives that are at the level of Ashley Williams’ “Enter the arm dragon”. In fact, I can think of only two instructional that have taught me stuff about arm drags, although nowhere near what I got from this online instructional.
The first one is “The arm drag formula” by Royler Gracie black belt Rosendo Diaz. This is a purely BJJ-focused instructional done with the Gi, that covers arm drags from the guard. It offers lots in terms of sweep and submission setups, but not too much in terms of arm drag mechanics.
The second one is Robert Drysdale’s “Dragfly Series” instructional. Also called the “arm drag on steroids” this instructional focuses once again on using the arm drag from the guard, mostly to sweep, submit or transition into other positions like X-guard or the back. It is a No-Gi instructional with lots of techniques.
All in all, Ashley Williams has provided the most in-depth study of the arm drag that has been put together so far. he covers the mechanics, setups, situational scenarios, and finishing sequences in a very precise and easy-to-follow manner. Moreover, it is easy to transfer most o the knowledge to using arm drags from the guard, which is also an original feature.
Whether you prefer to do arm drags or not, getting this instructional is a great idea. It will improve your overall takedowns and it will teach you how to deal with people that are trying to arm drag you. It is one of these things that everyone in BJJ needs to know. Lucky for you, not everyone is aware of the existence of this great arm drag instructional.
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Ogi is a brown belt and very passionate about Jiu Jitsu.
He is also the head coach of Carlos Maia BJJ Macedonia and Globetrotter.