Going directly into the armbar from the bottom side mount has to be one of the most surprising escapes for the guy on top. One moment he’s crushing you with his crossface, and the next he’s tapping out to a match-ending submission.
The first time I saw this technique I didn’t think it was very realistic. It looked like a power move that required tremendous upper body strength.
But when I worked with Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins while filming How to Defeat the Bigger Stronger Opponent series I became a believer. Brandon (who competed at 130 lbs) showed me the body mechanics that can make it work even if you can’t bench press 225 lbs for reps.
Armbar from Bottom Side Mount Video
Here’s a video breakdown of how to escape the side mount and go directly to the armbar.
First we talk about the move, and then the actual technical instruction begins at 1:44…
The Fundamental Movement of the Armbar from Bottom Side Mount
Someone once called this as the ‘bench press escape”, but I don’t like like this description at all. Calling this a bench press implies that you’re using the strength of your chest and your triceps to push the guy up off of you.
Instead imagine a really sloppy bench press where you start with an imaginary barbell resting across your your hips and then bridging up to throw that weight up into air using your legs instead of your arms, and only then locking the weight out above you.
This way you’re using the strength of your entire body to displace your opponent and create the room you need to do the rest of the move.
The Armbar from Bottom Side Mount, Step by Step
Let’s go through all the steps for applying this escape technique…
Now that we’ve looked at the mechanics and all the steps involved in escaping side mount this way let’s take a quick look at what it might look like against a resisting opponent…
Finishing the Armbar
When you’re trying to submit someone with the armbar it’s very, very common for them to counter by linking their hands together and holding on for dear life.
But this isn’t really a defense, not if you know the counters.
To get you started with these counters, and to allow you to finish a LOT more armbars, check out how to finish the armbar against a resisting opponent – it’ll give you 20 different answers for when your opponent is being difficult.
Other Positional Escapes That Lead Directly into Submissions
Escaping a bad position is a lot of work, so if you can go directly from a bad position into a submission you should definitely go for it.
Maybe you’ll finish the match right then and there. But even if it doesn’t work you’ll still freak your opponent out and make him leery of attacking you again!
Here are a couple of other examples of escapes that go directly into submission…
Being caught in mount is a terrible thing in BJJ, MMA or a streetfight. So you need all the escapes to this position you can get.
Bridging, stiff-arming the hips, and then transitioning into a leglock is when you’re in the mount one of the fastest ways to turn a match around.
Once you’ve achieved a leg entanglement from the bottom of mount you have many options: you can submit him with the basic ankle lock, transition into a devastating heelhook, or control and sweep him with the Single Leg X Guard.
One of my favorite escapes to the rear mount ends in a wristlock. I’ve caught many black belts in this technique because they absolutely, positively, do not expect it.
While we’re talking about wristlocks I have to emphasize two things…
First, wristlocks are everywhere. In fact I think there’s an argument to be made that the wrist is the most under-attacked joint of the human body in BJJ.
Second, wristlocks can be bloody dangerous. The wrist is a small joint full of small bones and tiny ligaments. Apply those wristlocks slowly and carefully, giving your opponent LOTS of time to tap out!
How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent with Brandon Mullins
The side mount escape we covered in this article comes from the ‘Defense and Escape Gameplan’ section of How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent with Brandon Mullins.
This 5 volume instructional is available in DVD, online streaming and app formand contains over 10 hours of instruction with absolutely no filler. This is hard-hitting material which you can watch one day and use on the mats the next day.
The mission of this instructional series is to give you the techniques and strategies you need to handle yourself when you’re grappling with a larger, stronger opponent. Everything is geared towards keeping you safe, and having a high-percentage game that you can rely on, even when the person you’re facing outweighs you by many pounds.
In this set Brandon teaches you his ‘go-to’ techniques in an easy-to-follow, step-by-step manner. These are the techniques he’s used on bigger people over and over and over, and at the highest levels of competition.
Brandon also takes you through the critical details – the hand positioning, the little hip movements, the adjustments – that make these techniques work against bigger, stronger opponents AND against his competitors at the highest levels of grappling competition in the world.
In addition to all this detail, every technique also includes full speed demos. And we also added in a TON of clips from tournaments, so you can see Brandon applying the very same techniques being taught in real life against resisting opponents.
Click here to find out more about How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent with Brandon Mullins.