The arm bar is one of the most fundamental submissions you learn when starting out in BJJ. It seems like a simple submission, but there are various methods to do it with a few important details.
Let’s break down how to do an arm bar in BJJ. We”ll go over the origins of where the submission came from along with various ways to do it. Also listing important details to do an arm bar, as well how to escape them.
Origin of The Arm Bar in BJJ
Basically every martial art has some type of technique for doing an arm bar. The BJJ arm bar in particular was taken from Judo, Japanese Jiu Jitsu, and catch wrestling. Judo refers to the arm bar as “Ude Hishigi Juji Gatame.”
BJJ took this technique and perfected it for the ground creating various methods to do an arm bar. Even today, there are still new techniques for the arm bar being created.
How To Do A Basic BJJ Arm Bar From Guard
The first arm bar you learn in BJJ is generally from the guard position. First you need to control an opponent’s arm by reaching across your body, grabbing their tricep, and pulling it in.
Your other arm needs to grab at their trap muscle and bring them down and prevent them from posturing. Then open up your guard, place your foot on their hip(same side as the arm you’re controlling) and turn your leg against their side.
Afterwards take your other leg and hook it around the opponent’s body, and chop it downwards with a little bit of force. This will keep them in place for the arm bar.
At the same time, you’re going to turn to the side to get an angle for the arm bar. Doing this step gives your hips and legs the space to move freely to get the arm bar.
Now, we’re at the last few steps to complete the arm bar. As you turn to get your angle, the back of your is going to clamp down on the opponent’s neck. This will break their posture further and keep them in place.
For the finish, have your legs tight, pinching your thighs close together around their arm with their thumb up. Then to get the tap bridge your hips up to put immense pressure on their elbow joint.
Watch blackbelt Giancarlo Bodoni break down the basic arm bar in this video.
Speed Arm Bar
If you prefer doing a faster version with a wrist control, then this is the technique for you. This one will be less detailed than the basic arm bar from guard.
Underhook the opponent’s leg at the same time you pull their wrist and hook your leg over their back. Doing this will enable you to turn and get the arm bar within a second. Watch this video of Gordon Ryan breaking down this technique.
Arm Bar From Mount (Traditional and S Mount)
Here are two commonly taught arm bar techniques from the mount position. First will be a basic arm bar from mount and then a breakdown of an S mount arm bar.
For a basic arm bar, grab at the tricep of the arm you want to attack. Your other arm can either base on the floor or the opponent’s chest, head, and shoulder. If you’re training in Gi, then you can hold the opponent’s collar or sleeve.
After you control the arm all you have to do is rotate your body around the opponent. Stepping your leg over their head with your legs tight around their arm and falling back to add pressure.
Here is Chewjitsu breaking down armbar mistakes from the mount you want to avoid.
For a tighter arm bar from the mount, you can do it from S mount. Before you throw your leg over the opponent’s head, hook your other leg under their other arm.
It looks just like an S and gives up less space than a traditional arm bar from the position.
Blackbelt Rob Bernacki breaks down all of the steps of this technique in this video.
Arm-Bar From Back Mount
Arm bar from the back mount is a common option to go with. When you have a seat belt grip, there is an arm bar option available.
Just hook the arm, rotate your body, throw your leg over their head, and take the arm. Lachan Giles in this video breaks down all the details for doing this technique.
Arm-Bar From Side Control
To cover arm bars from all of the positions, here is a common method from side control. When the opponent makes the mistake of holding your head instead of framing this opens an arm bar option up.
Step over their head, cup their arm at the tricep bringing them from their back to their side. For the finish rotate around their body giving up little to no space and take the arm.
MMA Leech has a great video on how to do this technique you can watch here.
Key Details To Remember with The Arm Bar
The arm bar is one of the most basic and fundamental techniques in BJJ, but does have very important details. Here are the key details you need to remember when performing an arm bar in BJJ.
How To Defend the Arm bar in BJJ?
As you can see, there are several variations of the arm bar – it can be hard to count! These are barely a fraction of the arm bar techniques you can do in BJJ. It is one of the most fundamental techniques you’re going to learn, but it is also one of the most versatile. There are a ton of arm bar techniques that you can do from all kinds of positions.
Once you get good at doing arm bars, it really does open up your game. You can do this technique from almost every position. Your opponents will have to watch out not to expose their arm or you’d be taking them to a one way trip to snap city!
Train Hard! Roll Safe!