In this blog post, I'm gonna show you how to pull off an armbar from closed guard.
In one of my previous posts, I taught you how to do an armbar from the back mount position in no gi.
While the armbar from back mount is pretty much the same in both gi and no gi, performing an armbar from closed guard requires a different approach, which I will address.
Just like any submission, it's all about the details, timing, and execution when it comes to the armbar from closed guard.
To make sure you get it right, I've created a step-by-step video tutorial that will guide you through the process.
Watch the video below, pay close attention to the instructions and drill consistently to put the movement into your muscle memory.
Table of Contents
BJJ Instructional Video: How To Do An Armbar From Closed Guard
Armbar From Closed Guard Step-By-Step Guide
Step #1: Break your opponent’s posture
The first step to execute the armbar from closed guard is by breaking your opponent's posture.
So, you've established a closed guard. Nice one!
But, what's next?
Well, the first thing you need to do is break your opponent's posture.
To execute any attack or submission from closed guard, you have to break your opponent's posture and adjust your body angle.
If your opponent's posture is upright and parallel to yours, it'll be tough to pull off any attack or submission from closed guard.
Now, let's focus on attacking the armbar from closed guard by breaking your opponent's posture.
The first thing you need to do is to isolate one of your opponent's arms.
The arm that you isolate is the same one that you're going to break. Simple, right?
In the example shown above, I isolate my opponent's right arm by grabbing his right sleeve with my left hand and his right triceps with my right hand.
Next, I use my legs to pull him towards me while dragging his right arm to the right side of my hips.
This causes my opponent's right elbow to be on my belly, which is the perfect position to achieve before going for the armbar from closed guard.
Keep in mind that this is just the beginning of the process, and there's a lot more to it in the following steps below.
Step #2: Reinforce the posture break
Keep your opponent's posture broken.
Breaking your opponent's posture is only half the battle.
You don't want him to regain a good upright body position.
If your opponent manages to sit upright again, then you'll lose the proper position to attack an armbar from closed guard.
That's why you need to reinforce the posture break.
And it's simple - just move the hand that was on the sleeve to your opponent's cross shoulder or inside of his cross collar (with your thumb inside).
Take a look at the image above for a better visualization.
But why use the hand that was on the sleeve to reinforce the posture break?
Because your other hand, which is holding the triceps, is maintaining your opponent's elbow to be locked in around your belly area.
And you need your opponent's elbow there all the time for a successful armbar from closed guard.
So, remember to reinforce that posture break and keep that elbow locked in.
Step #3: Climb your opponent’s back using your legs to achieve a high closed guard position
Climb your opponent's back like a stair to get to a high guard position.
Now, I want to create a better angle to start attacking the armbar from closed guard and even better control of my opponent's posture by achieving the high closed guard position.
How do I do that?
The key is for me to climb up my opponent's back like a stair using my legs.
I need to get as close as possible to their upper back and shoulder.
To create a better angle to attack the arm, I'll use my left calf to cover and pressure down their right shoulder.
Why do I need to cover and pressure my opponent's right shoulder?
This is because I'm attacking their right arm in this example, so controlling their right shoulder is a must.
Check out the image above to get a better idea of what I'm talking about.
With the high closed guard position, I'm one step closer to submit my opponent using the armbar from closed guard
Step #4: Push your opponent’s head and swing your leg over
Push your opponent's head and swing your leg over his head to get to the armbar position.
Once I have secured the high closed guard position, I release my hand that was gripping my opponent's cross shoulder or cross collar.
Using my free hand, I push my opponent's head just a little to create room for my leg to swing over.
Once my leg is positioned on the side of my opponent's face, I chop down hard with my calf to maintain their posture broken down.
It's important to keep my feet uncrossed to avoid taking away pressure on my opponent's posture.
Instead, I squeeze my knees together while chopping down hard on my opponent.
Check the image above for better visuals of what I am doing.
After achieving this position, I am ready to finish the armbar from closed guard.
Step #5: Finish the armbar using your hip
Thrust your hip up to finish the armbar.
Next, you want to grip your opponent's right hand using both of your hands.
Turn his wrist so that his right thumb points upwards.
To finish the armbar from closed guard, all you need to do now is thrust your hip up and pull your opponent's hand down at the same time.
This will cause a hyper-extension on your opponent's elbow joint and if he does not tap, you will break his arm.
Alternative finish: Triangle control
If your opponent can pull his arm out, go for the triangle control for more attacks.
If, for whatever reason, your opponent can pull his attacked arm and escape the armbar, you still have the option to go for the triangle control.
To do this, I grip my opponent's left shoulder and swing my leg to get on top of his right shoulder.
This move will trap his head and his left arm inside my triangle control.
From the triangle control, I have plenty of other attacking options, such as the triangle choke, kimura, wristlocks or even another armbar on my opponent's other arm.
To wrap it up....
I hope you found this guide on the armbar from closed guard helpful.
If you enjoyed it, please consider sharing it with your friends and fellow BJJ practitioners, and give it a thumbs up to let me know that you found it useful.
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