Armbar Defense Part Two: Escapes

In Articles, BJJ Lifestyle by Bojan

Last time we talked about the many ways of buying ourselves time whenever someone has a grip on our arm. We also made the assumption that the biggest problem with defending the armbar is the fact that there’s a thigh over our faces. The inability to see, especially if you’ve never been in the position, is a massive disadvantage. You’ve no idea what your opponent is doing. You’re blind and you feel your arm slowly being extended.

The grips we’ve covered so far were the genie, gable and S grips, collar grip and the inside of the knee grip. Basically, anything that stops our arm from being extended is a temporary defense. It’ll give us openings to escape. That’s why we covered this in the last article. In a short summary, to be able to defend and escape you need to be comfortable with the position. Put yourself in the armbar. Give your partner the spider-web and experiment with the different defensive grips. Try to put yourself in a relaxed state of mind. That’s what it takes to recognize the opportunities your opponent gives you. You could go the other way. Stop any and all attacks by killing grips. Fact is, you’re going to get caught. Stay cool. We all get caught eventually. Don’t forget though, you’re still fighting even if you get caught.

Escape #1  The Stack

You’re on top. That’s a huge advantage. Keep it that way. If you stack it right, it’ll be really hard for the attacker to finish the armbar. He’ll need to catch you either as you’re standing up, risking his neck or with your posture broken. Counteract this with the genie grip at first. Post out onto your heel behind his butt. Don’t post the leg that’s cross from the arm that’s being attacked. He’ll just flower sweep you. Post the leg that’s on the same side as the attacked arm. Then drive into your opponent. You can work towards breaking the grip or just putting pressure into him. Be careful not to injure your partner and look out for the spin under.

Escape #2 Pry-the-Armbar-Open

This one is probably the best escape in this series, especially when combined with the hitchhiker escape. The principle is this, grip something so your arm doesn’t get extended and use the other arm and leg to pry open your opponent’s legs. You’ll either grab the collar or the inside of the knee on the side of the arm that’s being attacked. Use your free arm to frame against the leg that’s across your body. Once you’ve done so, grab the ankle and push it down into half-guard. The cross-facing leg will now have been severely weakened. Use the same free arm to take off the cross-face and put it under your head or optimally shoulders. You’ve pried open the armbar. Congratulations

Escape #3 The Hitchhiker Escape

The hitchhiker escape is often frowned upon because it looks like you’re leaving your arm out to dry. You’re not. You’re using a mechanical weakness to escape. It combines really well with the pry-open escape. Grab a collar or the inside of the knee and use your other arm to make contact with the ground. Elbow that’s not being attacked HAS TO BE in contact with the ground. Otherwise, it won’t work. That’s why people usually knot their legs below the far-shoulder. Once you’ve got elbow-ground contact. You’re ready. Abandon the thigh grip. Answer the phone or be a hitchhiker. As you turn into turtle, facing away from your opponent and then back into him.

Escape #4 Roll-over

This last one will get you into stack position. Opponent has got a deep hook from the side your head is on. Roll over the shoulder that’s looking at your opponent. You’re on top. You can also bridge into him and get to knees. Stack and escape.