A Must Learn Arm Triangle from Full Guard with Neil Melanson
When training Jiu Jitsu it is important to establish what your goals are. This means determining exactly what you are training for. For fun or self defense, competition, MMA? Focus on answering this for yourself because it will definitely change the way you should be training.
Take closed guard technique for example. If you are training strictly for Jiu Jitsu competition, when you are in someone's closed guard you want to make sure you posture to try and break the guard and start passing. However, in MMA there is a good chance that the guy on the bottom doesn’t want to be on the bottom because it leaves him open to getting hit more easily. In this case, you may try to keep your chest low while in the closed guard, because posturing could give him a chance to open his guard and stand up.
Regardless of what you focus on, it’s still important to train for all of these scenarios. You never know when something is going to happen on the street and the strategy you have been training will have to completely change for that scenario.
As far as closed guard goes, people have mixed beliefs about what the more dominant position is. Some people believe it is the bottom person because they have more control, are able to use all four limbs, and have more access to attacks. Some people believe that the top is usually the better position because you have gravity and weight on your side. Regardless, it is important to become proficient from both positions.
In this video, Neil Melanson demonstrates a creative and effective arm triangle from inside the full guard, check it out below!
While in the closed guard, the first step for this technique is going to be to look to pin one of your opponent's arms to the mat. It is easiest to do this with a downward grip on their wrist. Once you have control of the wrist you are going to quickly lift your knee on the side you have the arm trapped and slide their arm in, pinning in between your knee and their own hip. At this point it should be extremely difficult for your partner to regain control of that arm. Additionally, because of where your arm will be positioned it makes it difficult for your partner to use their leg on that side to try and open their guard and use that leg to free their arm.
When you are ready, pressure forward and come up to a tripod on your feet, this will lift your partner's butt and back off of the ground. While they are lifted, drag their arm under and across their body and put your knee right in the center of their butt/tailbone. Start to sink back and posture, and this will keep them slightly elevated while also putting a combination of their own weight and your weight on top of their arm.
Want more brutal submissions from Neil Melanson? Click Learn More!
When you pass their arm under their body, you are going to grab it with your other arm and then yank them up with it. This is extremely uncomfortable and will likely cause them to open their guard. When their guard opens, use your free hand to push their leg down and start to cut your knee over top of it to begin to pass. When you clear the leg, use that free arm to get a cross face and grip behind the shoulder. Use that grip on the shoulder to start positioning their arm between their neck and your head to start setting up the arm triangle.
When you have this position secured, begin to drive toward the other side as he is completely laying on his own arm, rendering it useless. As soon as his weight is on his arm, you can let go of the hand and use that arm to establish your gable grip to finish the arm triangle. The last step is to free your other leg and pass so you can sprawl out and finish the submission.
The reason this submission works so well is because of the amount of control it offers with the entrapment of the arm. Even if you can’t finish the arm triangle for whatever reason, you can absolutely still use this technique to pass the guard. Better yet, if done correctly you can pass the guard and get to side control to start attacking all while his arm remains trapped. Check our another great guide Full Guard Formula by James Booth.
About Neil Melanson
Neil Melanson is a submission grappling coach who specializes in catch wrestling, while also drawing elements of Judo and Jiu Jitsu into his mixed martial arts teachings. He is the current head grappling coach at Jaco Hybrid Training Center, and is the former head grappling coach at both Xtreme Couture Las Vegas and Alliance MMA.
Throughout his career Neil has trained professional fighters such as Chael Sonnen, Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, and many others. He is known for his unique mixture of multiple forms of martial arts and wildy enough does all of this while only being able to see out of one eye after suffering a diagnosis of Behcet’s disease.
About Neil’s Instructional
Neil has devoted this entire instructional to mastering the arm triangle. Included you will find techniques such as shoulder lock from Kesa Gatame, Von Flue choke, butterfly sweep to arm triangle, arm triangle to crucifix arm lock, and so much more.
Neil’s technique has been pivotal in the development of grappling and MMA evolution. He is a highly sought after coach, and has pledged his time toward helping others improve. Gain the proper technique to finish the arm triangle everytime, check out his instructional here!