Become An Armbar Machine – Rapid Fire Armbar Drill



“Dan Faggella is a no-gi Pan Am champion at 134lbs, writer for numerous BJJ magazines, BJJ Academy owner at Black Diamond Mixed Martial Arts, and blogger here at BJJEE.com. To check out this Submission Master Grappling dummy for yourself, click here. 

No matter what level of grappling you have reached in your career, there is always certain moves that are considered fundamental and “basic” that always need honing.  One of these specific moves is the armbar, which can be a gift and a curse to some people.

For those that find it to be a difficult move to hit, then it’s vital that you continue to work on it and iron out the kinks.  Failure to do so will only highlight a weakness in your game, leaving you inept to hit what many consider “basic.”

A good way you can start to re-teach yourself is by using a grappling dummy!  These tools allow you to focus on technique and form, without having to worry about hitting the move on time in a live situation.  Grappling dummy’s can do wonders for your game, and will only help improve your overall skill.

Hitting The Armbar From Bottom Guard
In order to understand the benefits of the training dummy, you have to familiarize yourself with the move and the situation you find yourself in.  No matter how good and experienced you get, you can never be too good for the basic moves.

Let’s take the armbar from closed guard, for instance:

  • In our opponents guard, we want to control their arm by any means.
  • First off, you want to isolate one arm.  Swim through with one of your arms and lock onto his, while keeping his wrist in place.
  • Get your knee behind his elbow, and post with your foot off of his hip.
  • With the foot on the hip, pivot off to the side, twisting your body away from where you posted.
  • From here, bring your opposite foot across their shoulder, pushing them down.
  • Next, bring your posted-foot through, and over your opponents head.
  • Lastly, arch your hips and apply pressure for the submission victory!

Again, this is a move that I’m sure we have all done at some point early on in our career.  Yet, I still run into seasoned grapplers who find it difficult to hit an armbar—for various positions—and it doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s all about muscle memory from this position, and repeating the motion over and over again. The Submission Mastery grappling dummy is the perfect tool to master your attacks from the closed guard.

As we evolve as grapplers, we tend to ditch some of the basic moves, for better or for worse.

Hitting The Armbar From The Mount
The mount is one of the most dominant positions in grappling. When you have all your weight distributed over your opponent, they often leave one of their arms extended – you must learn to capitalize on this moment each and every time. Lets take a look at the basic principles of the armbar from the mount.

  • You want to first establish proper mount position, with your hips low and your knees in your opponents shoulders.
  • From here, you want to distribute your weight over your opponents shoulder. This will prevent your opponent from rolling you over and escaping the position.
  • Establish a corresponding cross face, giving your opponent no space to activate their hips and initiate an escape.
  • With your free hand, slightly tap your opponents elbow up towards his chest, getting your hips behind it.
  • Transition into an S-Mount position, hooking your opponents elbow with the same free arm.
  • Push your opponents face down with the arm you are using as a cross face, and then swing your free leg over his head.
  • Keep your sternum glued to your opponents triceps, cup his wrist, pinch your knees, and slightly arch your hips for the TAP

Mastering the armbar from both the guard and mount will really open up your grappling game. Once you get enough repetition from the Submission Grappling Dummy, your armbar attacks will become effortless and instinctive. For more tips about how to drill various armbar positions, go check out this article right here.

Physically Developing Yourself

One very common issue people have with the armbar is that they can’t properly set it up.  This could be due to poor range of motion in their hips, and improper flexibility.  While it may seem laughable, these can infringe upon your ability to hit this move.

Being able to use a training dummy can help rid you of these issues.  Giving the proper time to work the armbar, at a steady, efficient rate, can allow your hips to loosen up and become more familiar with the movements.

With the help of a training dummy, in no time flat, you’ll become a far better grappler even with these fundamental moves.

Dan Faggella