BJJ Lesson 6 – How to do an armbar.

So there are many variations on the theme of armbars. I just wanted to know one type that I could rely on and luckily the class tonight was focused on slowing down the technique and mastering the basics of an armbar.

Armbars are very uncomfortable when on the receiving end. Essentially, you have your opponent in knee mount, placing a lot of pressure on your opponents chest and then controlling the arm as this video describes

Under a correctly applied knee mount, you will find the pressure makes it difficult to breathe and so you quickly lose the energy or will to defend yourself. When this happens, it’s easy to make mistakes and the control that the knee mounted opponent has, can dictate the next move.

In this lesson, it was about controlling the arm. This means exploiting the squashed person’s desperate attempts to free his arm. An armbar effectively means bending the full arm in the opposite direction in which it was designed to go. You create a pivot point on the back of the elbow and pull the forearm backwards against the pivot. There are different variations on this but ultimately it leads to a quick submission as it is obviously painful.

In BJJ training, it is essential that this motion is performed really slowly so that your partner has time to submit which is generally done by tapping. This “tap out” lets you or your partner know that any further pulling on the arm is going to result in injury. But, there needs to be enough pressure to ensure correct technique. There is no point in your partner tapping out when the correct form is not in place. Neither of you will learn from this. You need to learn what your threshold is and your partner needs to learn the limits of the technique and how to perform it safely.

Between the kneeling and the pressure on your arm, this is a very effective technique. I think it’ll take a lot of time to master especially when sparring but basically, you have to be confident and a bit mean on your opponent or you will lose control. After all, this is BJJ.

This post is based on my sixth lesson at Mathouse BJJ in Reading. A Roger Gracie Academy.