Armbar Fundamentals

OK, let’s talk about something really fundamental this week: armbars when you and your opponent have your backs on the floor (i.e. bellies to the sky).

Even if you are an advanced grappler it helps to review basic techniques. Not only does this ensure that you won’t make rookie mistakes on the mat, but it will definately help you when it comes to helping and teaching others.

What are some of the key points when you are performing a belly-up armbar? Here is what I think about:

1 – Are my hips close to his shoulder? I don’t want my hips to be so far away from his body that he can easily escape his elbow down to the floor.

2 – Are my legs pinching his arm(s)? This pinching reduces the strength and movement of his arm(s), further limiting his escape options.

3 – Is his thumb pointing up to the ceiling? This ensures that the alignment of his elbow is correct, meaning that I won’t be wasting energy bending his arm the wrong way.

If the answer to these 3 questions is ‘yes’ then you are ready to apply the armbar by keeping his hand on your chest and lifting your hips.

Of course there are many variations of the armbar, and some of these variations violate one or more of these rules. This doesn’t mean that these variations are incorrect, BUT before you go breaking the rules you need to know what the rules are!

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