Tonight we are going to be working on the gateway drug of submissions. I’m talking armbars from closed guard. A day one student can do this armbar, and really feel like they are going to be a hardcore martial artist someday. Jiu-jitsu is so much more, but a closed guard armbar can whet your appetite for all the wonder of jiu-jitsu like nothing else.
A good armbar uses your entire body against the person’s elbow, and it’s an iconic jiu-jitsu submission right next to the triangle. It’s also the number one submission I’ve observed when there is a skill disparity. Blue belts and purple belts will get armbars every 30 seconds on a new guy. Black belts will repeatedly armbar blue belts and even purple belts. Armbars can be hit from many different positions and with a boggling variety of finishing styles. A small book could be written on nothing but armbars. In short, armbars are a critical piece of the jiu-jitsu puzzle. I’ll be honest, they’re a lot of fun, too.
But this is fundamentals. We are going to focus on two things. First, we are going to do the simplest armbar from closed guard that uses motions that are also useful for sweeps as well as setting up other submission. You don’t need to worry about the other things, but the more advanced students will appreciate drawing the connections between this armbar and all the other things you can do with these control points and body mechanics.
Second, we are going to cover the primary escape from this armbar, and also briefly cover some of the countless bad ideas there are for getting out of it. I want you to see the consequences of these bad ideas. If you roll with me and attempt to do anything other than the escape I show tonight, you will end up submitted 90% of the time. Every competition armbar I have completed was finished because my opponent attempted to use muscle and/or speed instead of position and leverage. You will learn the position and leverage escape tonight.