It’s a question that I get from BJJ beginners all the time, “How do I do the armbar without crushing my balls in the process?”
And it’s a legitimate problem for people starting out their BJJ career. In fact, it’s a simple equation…
Elbow + Groin = OUCH!!
Now you could wear a cup, but most intermediate and advanced players don’t do that unless they’re training for MMA.
Instead of wearing a cup you could just use an easy fix: all you have to do is tighten your armbar and adjust your position so that your hips are closer to his shoulder.
This picture shows the wrong way to do the armbar: hips far away from your opponent’s shoulder and elbow squarely in the sensitive bits.
Don’t do the armbar this way; it is wrong, wrong, wrong!
Instead you want to scoot your hips in really close to your opponent so that his elbow gets positioned over your pubic bone (or even higher on your body).
The easiest way to do this is to make sure that you set your armbar up correctly in the first place. Being tight on the shoulder right from the beginning is infinitely easier than trying to pull his arm into position once he’s started to make some space and create separation.
In the video below Rob Biernacki and I give some examples of how to set up the armbar safely and generally protect the groin in BJJ.
The first part of the video is dedicated to answering question about protecting the groin when your opponent is trying to pass your guard with a kneecut style guard pass (this question came from someone who had purchased the BJJ Guard and Bottom Game Formula app).
Then, at about the 5:09 mark, we talk about protecting your balls specifically during the armbar.
In that second half of the video Rob also shows a sweet way to set up the S Mount Armbar, so check it out below…
I remember seeing a fraudulent catch wrestling instructor years ago make fun of BJJ for supposedly advocating behind a hard and bony part of your opponent’s arm – his elbow – over a soft and sensitive part of your own body – the groin – when doing those “BJJ armbars.”
Sheesh, where do I even begin!
NOBODY in BJJ is suggesting that you finish your opponent by slamming your groin into his elbow, which shows you how much serious study this catch wrestling ‘expert’ had under his non-existent belt.
One little adjustment and it’s not a danger anymore.
Tthis collision of elbow and balls during the armbar ceases to be a problem once you get past the initial stages of training. And the video above should get you there a little faster!