How To Properly Execute A BJJ Arm Drag Takedown

How To Properly Execute A BJJ Arm Drag Takedown

The BJJ arm drag takedown is one of the most diverse and effective takedowns in all of Jiu Jitsu. It doesn’t matter your size or if your opponent is bigger this technique will definitely work if executed correctly.  

For this article, we are going to show you how to properly execute a BJJ arm drag takedown. Keep reading below as we show you different arm drag techniques and tips for executing the move. 

Origins Of The BJJ Arm Drag Takedown

It’s not known exactly when the arm drag was created, but BJJ did adopt the technique from wrestling. Judo also uses arm drags for entries into trips and throws.  

When traditional entries for takedowns would get defended, the arm drag was the easy alternative.   

As you grab the opponent’s arm, you make a quick penetration step to get in position for the takedown. Since you have control of their arm it makes it very hard for them to defend the takedown. They can’t turn away or push away. This increases your chances of executing the BJJ Arm Drag Takedown even better! 

BJJ ARm DRAG Takedown

How To Do The BJJ Arm Drag Takedown

In BJJ, there are two types of arm drag. One from standing to get takedowns and the other from the ground.  

What makes the BJJ arm drag takedown so effective is it is very simple and real easy to get to. There are no more than 3 steps in doing them move.  

The traditional arm drag starts from wrist control and cupping the inside of the opponent’s. At the same time you step in to get into position for your takedown. What takedown you finish with is whatever your preference is.  

You can go to a single leg, double leg, or trip takedown for a few examples. It’s very easy and highly effective.  

This move is also effective in gi, as well, You can do the same movements, but also use grips to get into position. 

How To Do The BJJ Arm Drag From The Ground

Jiu Jitsu has also innovated the arm drag for entries on the ground. This move has revolutionized the open guard game.  

A traditional arm drag from the ground starts just like from standing. From sitting up in open guard, you take the opponent’s arm in the same way and move yourself in position for your next move.   

You can either swing around and take their back, or move in for a sweep, or submission. Learning the arm drag will make your open guard game super dangerous! 

BJJ Arm Drag Techniques

There are numerous techniques that come off BJJ arm drags. Below we are going to detail multiple BJJ arm drag takedowns, as well as a few different ground techniques. 

Arm Drag To Ko Uchi Gari( Leg Trip)

One of the most common BJJ arm drag takedowns is the Ko Uchi Gari or leg trip. When an opponent over extends their lead arm or leg this opens up the opportunity for this takedown.  

From standing when you’re hand fighting with the opponent hook an arm and step in. When you step in, hook their lead leg with your leg, and fall forward.  

The momentum of going forward with the opponent’s leg hooked takes them down with ease. A great move for smaller grapplers to takedown bigger grapplers.  

All time great BJJ champion Marcelo Garcia was known for using this move. He takes everyone down this arm drag to leg trip.  

Here is a short highlight of Marcelo hitting this move in training. 

Also for a more detailed visual watch GB black belt Brandon Mullins go over the move here.

BJJ Arm Drag To Single Leg/Double Leg Takedown

The arm drag setup for a single and double is essentially the same. It’s just your preference if you want to end it with a single or double leg takedown.  

When the opponent extends themselves reaching to grab you do an inside swim move to take their arm. As soon as you get that arm drag grip step in immediately for your single or double leg.  

If one takedown doesn’t work, you can always go to the other. Watch BJJ black belt Mackens Semerzier show these techniques along with a few others. 

BJJ Arm Drag Back Take From Standing

From guard, one of the better arm drag options is going to the opponent’s back. You can also do this from standing and it’s a very effective back take option.  

When the opponent places a hand on you do an inside swim move to take their arm. Then step around to the side and take control of their back.  

For the takedown hook your leg across and pull them to the ground. To secure the position on the ground get your second hook and get your seatbelt grips.  

Watch Firas Zahabi demonstrate the technique here.

BJJ Arm Drag From Guard

From the ground there are numerous methods to do an arm drag. For this technique, we’ll detail a common back take.  

In closed guard when you’re hand fighting, you can set up a simple back take. Simply grab a wrist with one hand and their arm with the other. The arm grip will be a palm up grip on the bicep/tricep.  

When you take these grips open your guard and shift your hips to the side. Then take off the wrist grip and reach around their back to take hold of their lat.  

Use this grip to guide you to their back, then pull them over, and get your hooks. Then like with the arm drag to back takedown get your seatbelt grip to get full control of the position.   

Watch Gordon Ryan demonstrate this technique here.

Another Arm Drag Variation  From Guard

This arm drag is a little different than the other techniques, because you don’t do the traditional arm drag grips. For this technique, you’re only going to one grip, which is one hand palm down on the opponent’s tricep.  

This arm drag is for open guard when the opponent is pressing you. Place one hand behind you for a base. All you have to do is move to the side when the opponent comes forward.  

You can either take their back or if they leave their arm out hook it for a crucifix. From the crucifix, you can either finish with an easy arm lock or choke.  

Check out Josh Gotta show the technique here. 

Tips For Executing A BJJ Arm Drag Takedown

  • Don’t Pull The Opponent: The technique is an arm drag not an arm pull. It is virtually impossible to forcefully pull an opponent(especially a bigger one) into an arm drag. 
  • Step Forward: As soon as you get the arm drag grips, you have to step in and take space. Any open space will give your opponent the opportunity to defend.
  • Commit!: You really have to commit to an arm drag when you go for it. Any hesitation can lead to an opponent countering your arm drag with a takedown or back take of their own. 

Final Thoughts

These arm drag techniques are just a small sample of all the techniques possible to pull off. One of the best things about an arm drag takedown is it’s great for grapplers with no background in doing takedowns.  

The steps are very simple and make you a threat from standing position as well as a seated one. With this technique, you have a variety of attacks and setups you can do – all from a simple arm drag!  

If you truly want to improve your game, you definitely need to consider adding BJJ arm drags to your tool belt. Once you start drilling arm drags, you’ll be a double threat from standing and on the ground. Train Hard! Roll Safe!