When it comes to BJJ the straight armbar is one of the highest percentage submissions, and side control (aka sidemount, cross side, and 100 kilos) is probably the most common pinning position.
So you absolutely NEED to have some reliable armbar attacks from side control or you’re missing out on some huge opportunities.
Fundamentally when you’re in side control you can attack the near arm (the arm that’s closest to your hips) or his far arm (that arm that’s further away from your hips).
If I’m on the right side of your body then your right arm is the near arm and your left arm is your far arm.
A lot of people miss the fact that you can attack BOTH the near arm AND the far arm with the armbar.
Here’s my friend Ritchie Yip teaching how to do both – I’ve seen him nail both of these countless times so I vouch 100% for both these attacks.
Side Control Armbar 1: The Fast Armbar on the Near Side Arm
When you’re in side control your opponent will typically try to frame you away with one arm on your hip and the other under your neck. This is generally the correct reaction on his part but it does open up an armbar attack if you know how to take advantage of it!
First you lean forward and initiate momentum with your head while rising up on your knees. This opens a small space between his near arm and the floor.
Then you skip your legs forward into position with the ‘shoelaces’ of your bottom leg come into his armpit and your other leg swinging over his head. Now it’s a simple matter to secure the arm and finish the armbar.
The most common mistake is to sit back into this armbar, but that creates way too much space and gives him a great opportunity to escape.
Check out the video below to see how to attack the near arm; Ritchie also shows this movement as a solo drill so you can better understand it and practice it on your own.
Side Control Armbar 2: The Slow Motion Spinning Armbar on the Far Side Arm
Here’s how to attack the far arm so efficiently that even if you do this movement at geriatric slow motion speed it still works!
In this situation your opponent is framing correctly just like in the first technique: one arm under the neck and another on the hips.
Instead of wasting a ton of energy fighting his frames you’re simply going to drive forward and place your head on the mat on the far side of his body.
Now your arm that was controlling his head wraps his arm from above.
Bring your legs together and trap his arm with your top leg, then windshield wiper your legs so that your bottom shin is across his biceps. Some people refer to this position as the ‘top crucificix’, but regardless of what you call it your opponent is now in a horrible position!
Step over his head, control his elbow with your bottom arm, post on your top arm, and spin into the armbar while maintaining constant tension on his arm which stops him from linking his hands.
This is one of those techniques that doesn’t look like it should work but it absolutely does!
Give it a try!
Near and Far Side Kimuras
We’ve just seen how you can apply the armbar on both the near and far arm of your opponent.
Well, you can do the same thing with the Kimura armlock!
Click here to learn how to use the near and far side Kimura to confound, control and submit your opponent!
More Ritchie Yip
Ritchie is a BJJ black belt, one of my best friends and oldest BJJ training partners.
He’s also a hell of a blogger – click here to check out his articles and BJJ technique breakdowns.
You’re guaranteed to get some good material that you can use on the mats!