Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Tips for the Arm Bar (Juji Gatame)

A while back I wrote an article about obtaining the arm bar from the guard. The arm bar is a very strong and hard to defend submission and once you are caught in it and it is locked on tight, the chances of wriggling out are minimal. Whilst training last night, I noticed that some less experienced grapplers where having trouble performing a straight forward basic arm bar (juji gatame) whilst there opponent is lying on the floor. Below are several small, but often overlooked tips which should help.

Assuming you are in the arm bar position shown below with your opponent lying flat, and both your legs over his/her body,

Stay close – Keep your body close to your opponents in order to gain the best possible leverage for the arm lock. To do this, try and get your butt as close to your opponents head as much as possible.

Keep your feet flat on the floor - Some people cross there feet which can work just as well, but by having your feet uncrossed and flat on the floor, you can control your opponent better with your legs and can prevent him from sitting up or rolling into you which can break the submission hold.

Pull your feet in – With your feet flat on the floor you can further control your opponent and bring him closer to you, in order to create a tight and powerful submission, by pulling your feet in as if trying to touch your butt. Just watch you don’t kick your opponent in the face as this may get you in trouble in some grappling only tournaments.

Pinch your knees together – By pinching your knees together with your opponents arm in between, you control his/her arm in the best way in order to apply the lock easier.

Grip your opponents arm tightly – The strongest grip you can have on your opponents arm is to hold it near the wrist area with both of your hands (one under the other). Alternative but less powerful grips include hooking the arm as if you where choking it with hadake jime or holding it with one hand, as you may be controlling another part of your opponent (a leg for example) with the other.

Be prepared for an alternative – There is never a guarantee that any technique will work, so if your opponent does wriggle out, don’t use up all your energy trying to force the lock on, but flow to another technique or a good defensive position.

The arm bar is a basic but probably the most used submission. It requires constant practise and reviewing even if you have had years of training. Always use care when practising submissions and never apply a lock by pulling hard and fast on the joint as it can result in injury.


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