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Arm Attack Drills
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Arm Attack Drills

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Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. – You have likely heard this a time or two along your Jiu Jitsu journey.  It’s the truest statement of all I feel. 

Famous words to live by for anyone training anything where muscle memory is a factor, which is basically everything.  Have you trained long enough yet to have experienced a muscle memory reaction in live training? For example, your training partner gets the under hook on you in when you are in top side control and you immediately “switch your ride” bringing you arm over and blocking their hip.  Things like this start to happen automatically as a result of building muscle memory in training. This is why it’s so important to drill the techniques the way you want to perform them in real life.

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It’s no secret that drilling technique is the heart and soul of successful Jiu Jitsu training.  Live training or rolling doesn’t expand your technique knowledge, it simply gives you a platform to showcase what you already know, whereas drilling gives you the ability to learn new techniques in a controlled setting.  

We have talked at length in many posts about the need to be able to string techniques together.  Especially as we progress through the ranks and begin facing higher and higher level competitors, we have to create a strategy like an onion, several layers deep.  As you can probably imagine, one of the best ways to do this is to drill the series. Spend some time drilling the series of attacks you plan to use in competition.  Spending time on these transitions will help you to smooth them out, but it will help to create muscle memory in responding more quickly when the opponent reacts or attempts to defend your submission attempt. 

Professor Tom DeBlass shows us how to string arm attacks together in his video clip “Arm Attack Drills”.  Let’s breakdown this drill from this elite competitor.

We are starting in top side control, with the opponent framing on our hip and neck.  Starting from here our first step in the drill is to clear the arm that is blocking our hip.  To do this we need to grab the arm at the tricep and pull it up as we sit through bringing our far leg under and essentially under the training partner’s shoulder. Once the arm is trapped, we can square up our hips again, so we are back to a chest to chest position. 

The next part of the drill is to attack the Americana. To do this we use our right wrist to trap our training partner’s elbow and then push their wrist down with our left hand pushing on their wrist.  Once we get our training partner’s arm to the mat, we then can connect our figure four grip by grabbing out left wrist with our right hand ensuring that our right forearm is under our training partner’s elbow still.  An option for our training partner to escape the Americana would be for them to straighten their arm removing out ability to use it as a lever. For this drill, that’s what we want them to do. 

As your training partner straightens their arm in an effort to escape, they are met with the threat of yet another joint lock.  This time we are threatening the straight arm lock. To do this we simply maintain the figure four grip we had when attempting the Americana and follow their arm as they extend it stopping with our right forearm just shy of their elbow on the top half of their arm.  From here, to finish we would simply use the same motion we used for the Americana lifting at the elbow while pushing their wrist to the mats. For our drill however, we are not finished, we are simply getting into a position where we could finish and then moving to the next submission position. 

For the training partner to escape the threat of this straight arm lock they will be rolling their wrist towards the side of their body essentially rolling it out of our grip and breaking free from our control.  As soon as this happens, we abandon the straight arm attempt and cup the opponent’s tricep with our right arm, basing out on the mats with our left arm. Next we lay our chest on that arm, walk on our knees circling towards around our training partners head and switching control of our training partners arm from our right arm to our left arm using an elbow to elbow control.  From here we can now lock up the Kimura grip. For drilling purposes, we won’t finish the Kimura here. Instead we will move to the arm lock.

In order to transition to the arm lock we will need to step over our training partners head with our right leg and sit on the mat as close to their shoulder as possible.  As we sit, our left knee should pop out and end pointed up towards the ceiling with our foot planted. From here, to finish we would simply pinch our knees and lift our hips to get the tap, but once again, we are not looking for the submission just yet, we are simply stringing submissions together.  In order to escape our training partner should turn their hand towards their head in what would be a counter clockwise movement for them.

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Turning their hand and in turn arm in this direction will allow them to then switch their hips and come up to a turtle like position for a moment.  Because we still have control of the arm, they have essentially escaped into an Omoplata, we just need to put their hand in the pocket of space between our hips and theirs and we have the Omoplata setup. 

Lastly, let’s assume that our training partner is very powerful and explosive, and they are able to power up into us, busting out of the Omoplata.  In this case we are now led to our last submission in this series, the triangle. We already have everything we need in regard to position, we just need to get a good bite on our training partners neck with our left leg as they come up and into us.  

Now, this video and drilling sequence stop here, but you have the knowledge to add onto this if you’d like, why not add an arm bar from guard after the triangle and keep it going.  The purpose however is to ensure we are training for quality, not quantity. The quality of your drilling will be the quality of your game in competition. Drill to dominate in competition.  

This is just one example of a partner drill from the video instructional “Solo and Partner Grappling Drills for Rapid Movement” – by Tom DeBlass.  If you’re really truly committed to stepping up your game, this is the key to making that happen and unlocking your potential.  With a plethora of solo drills that can be done any time, anywhere, you have literally no excuse not to do more, be more, and dominate. 

Unless you live under a rock, you know the impact and presence that Tom DeBlass brings to jiu jitsu.  Now you can learn all of the Solo and Partner Grappling Drills to speed your learning curve and keep you moving towards your goals!  Get it here from BJJ Fanatics!

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