Somewhere in some far flung corner of the interwebz, this was written:
“As a blue belt I’m horrified at my own armbar ability. Horrified. I know how to execute from all relevant positions, but I must have hit about 10 from guard ever. I see people locking up beautiful armbars from the back and catching them mid scramble and I just get disgusted with my own inability. I always get stuck underneath, or miss the elbow, or just generally hate myself.”
Let’s break that down just a wee bit.
Two technical issues were identified:
- Stuck underneath (stacked on your neck so hard that you might want to see a chiropractor tomorrow)
- Lost the elbow (bah, all that effort for nothing)
Those are common issues, and even if you don’t get stacked, you can also get stuck because of immobile hips. Usually that’s because you’re not using your legs in the right way. And the legs play a very crucial role in the attack.
Nowadays, it’s what I emphasize the most.
Example from the instructor’s logbook:
Several moons ago, I taught a small yet hyper focused class. We drilled one technique over and over again. And coincidentally enough, it was a specific variation of the armbar from closed guard.
That wasn’t the initial plan at all though.
I adapted the class because as we drilled, I noticed specific small adjustments that could be better emphasized to improved their execution (and sometimes you’re just blessed with a group of savages that get excited about incremental improvement).
Here’s the short list of things I noticed:
- Not bridging the hip towards the arm to create connection.
- Not getting the top leg (the one closest to the hips) high enough in the armpit to control posture and create an ideal finish angle.
- Not clamping the bottom leg (the one closest to the head) down on the crown of the head to prevent the stack.
- Not pinching the knees tightly together to entrap the arm.
We improved all of those aspects of the attack one by one, and the improvement in their execution was like night and day. I can’t give you that kind of direct feedback right now, but I have updated the deathlock course.
There are now three new drills that focus on improving your effectiveness with the armbar from closed guard.
The first one, especially, is absolutely critical. It will teach you exactly how to use your legs to entrap your opponent and give them little hope of escape.
When it comes to finishing the attack with confidence, there is NO better drill than this one.
Learning is yours for the taking, you just have to kick through the door: