Closed Guard Armbar Study

I remember the first time I’d gotten a taste of Jiu-Jitsu. It was the armbar. I was thinking ‘This is never going to work’. Imagine my surprise and the sensation of not being able to move with my elbow gradually popping. I don’t know how many of you have experienced this, but the feeling was awful. At the time I’d had no idea what the tap was. I’ll be honest and tell you I hollered a bit J That’s it, I was hooked. The armbar works, full stop. It’s also one of the most effective submissions out there.

We’ll be going over the various positions you can catch an armbar from.

Closed Guard

The first position you’d have tried it out was probably the most difficult position you can catch it from and that’s the closed guard. If you can get it from closed guard you can get it from anywhere. But the ultimate positional advantage is to be had from the spider-web with your opponent or partner on their back.

How to

Attacking the armbar off your back demands hip mobility. However, before you do anything, you’ll need grips. The typical beginner’s grip is the cross-tricep grip. Right hand grips right. Free hand controls posture by grabbing the head. If you’re on the lankier side you might as well grab around the back and latch yourself onto your partner’s lat muscle. With these grips in place you ground his hips by putting your heel onto his hip. Once you’ve grounded him, it’s time to move your hips. The goal is to get yourself perpendicular or under a 90 degree angle to your partner. Use the hip-heel to rotate. You’re never going to make it if your weight is centered on your shoulders. You need to become a rocking chair. To rotate, your axis has to be in your lower back. For example, if you’re attacking right on right, your left heel is on your partner’s hip. Rotate to your right. Right leg climbs on top of his shoulders. That’s idea, trap the shoulder. Attack the arm. With your right leg on top of their shoulders and your body perpendicular to your opponent move your other leg across their face. You’ve got the armbar.

Now what?

Alright, you’ve attached yourself to an arm and perhaps even extended it in the best case scenario. You’ll get extension if you set it up without your opponent being aware what’s going on. That won’t happen often. They’d typically go into genie mode. The genie defense works especially well if they’re on top. They grab their elbows and stack you. You’ve got a problem.

Let’s think about the counters. If your opponent is a lot heavier than you, abandon ship. Don’t risk your neck. That’s the worst injury there is. But, if you really want to get it, you’ll need the backwards roll. You need to be able to roll over both shoulders backwards. If you’re not feeling in your ability to roll, just drop the armbar for now.

You can roll. You’re a human ball. You’re confident against your opponent’s stacking. What then? Switch grips. If your dominant grip was the cross grip, switch. Grab a mirror grip. Grip with your forearm.  Don’t go over the wrist. Go over top and monkey grip your own thigh. That’s the deep hook. If he goes genie it’ll give you a lot of connection. The hand that was cross gripping under-hooks the leg you’re next to. If he’s on his heel or knees, just flower sweep him. But if he’s had some experience being attacked with the armbar he’ll probably post on his other heel behind your butt. That’s a bit more difficult to counter. You won’t be able to flower sweep him. You’ve got to spin under him. Under-hook the far leg that’s behind your butt. Spin under and roll over the deep-hook shoulder. Check the swim move or armbar from turtle to figure this one out. It’s just a way of getting yourself in the same position because of your opponent’s base. Good luck