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Arm Bar Master Class with Giancarlo Bodoni

Arm Bar Master Class with Giancarlo Bodoni



Giancarlo Bodoni is making a name for himself. A student of the great Lucas Lepri, this young man is another outstanding competitor to be looking out for. With an incredible performance at no gi worlds this year, Bodoni won his division at brown belt and claimed third place in the open class. 

Bodoni has a wicked closed guard and an arm bar that’s incredibly efficient. Today, Bodoni offers us some insight as to why our arm bar might be failing us and how to fix it with some simple, applicable ideas. 

The arm bar from guard can be very tricky. With gravity on the top players side, these types of attacks can be easy to thwart off. There’s a certain level of control that must be observed if you hope to be successful with a closed guard arm bar and you have to stay on point as you work your way through the motions.  

Bodoni has recently released a new series with BJJ Fanatics entitled Submission Arsenal, with the first installment dealing in closed guard attacks. This is sure to be a favorite for anyone looking to develop or improve their closed guard. This body of work will help your transform the position in to a more dangerous and formidable piece of your BJJ arsenal. 

In this video, Bodoni walks us through his version of the arm bar from the closed guard. He’ll address some common errors and demonstrate how to make this basic submission a little bit stronger so we can start having some more success! Have a look! 


Frist things first here. In the gi, its likely you’ll need to remove some grips before you can start to attack the arm. Bodoni first presents us with a method of doing just that. He secures his partner’s cuff with both hands, creates an angle and then uses a push pull action, extending his body and removing the grip from his lapel. Here, Bodoni brings his elbow tight to his side and then reaches across with his free hand to secure his partners triceps with a thumb down grip. Keep in mind here that Bodoni is reaching for the deepest grip possible on the triceps to gain a superior level of control. As he begins to drag the arm back across his body, this exceptional control of the arm allows him to manipulate the limb in to place. 

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With the arm stuck firmly in place and glued to his centerline, Bodoni can now plant his left foot on his partner’s hip and close his knee tight against his partners body. The positioning of the leg here is important. This is one of those tiny details that might be hindering you in your search for the arm bar. A relaxed leg here may be a detriment to your efforts. Be sure to tighten this up and give yourself this important layer of security. 

Bodoni then addresses another pitfall when attacking the arm bar. Many of us tend to use a hip escape motion when its time to create our angle for the attack. This actually makes your top leg shorter and unable to bite down on your partners shoulder to control their posture. As Bodoni explains, the proper movement here is to spin on your back. I’ve always likened this motion to a turtle spinning on its s shell. Bodoni recommends straightening the top leg to further enforce this movement. Keep your head off of the floor during this process and aim for as little surface area of your back as possible touching the mat. This will produce the proper movement and make sure its efficient. As he arrives at his angle, perpendicular to his partner, he bites down across the shoulders with his top leg, securing the position. 

With the posture controlled and the arm stuck in place, Bodoni can now begin to pursue the attack. He offers a couple options here as he continues, one of them adding an extra layer of control. From his current position, Bodoni moves to a high guard, locking his bottom leg over the shoulder and crossing his feet. If you’ve ever felt this type of control, you know how incredibly efficient it is as controlling the posture and keeping the arm locked in place. 

When the time is right, Bodoni uses his hand to begin pushing the head away and then passes his leg to the other side of the head. There’s a great debate here over the crossing of the feet that I’m sure you’ve heard about. Some say never, but there are always exceptions. Bodoni’s advice is that if you do cross them, keep the rear leg on the bottom, so you can continue to bite down on the shoulders and keep the posture under control.

With all of these details at work, the finish is actually quite simple. The arm is not going anywhere if you’ve covered all your bases. Bodoni simply finds a baseball bat style grip on the wrist with both hands making sure his partner’s pinky is facing down. He then pinches his knees together, extends his hips toward his partner and provides some pressure to the lock, commanding the tap. 

Submission Arsenal: Closed Guard by Giancarlo Bodoni

The closed guard and its many utilities can be very illusive if we don’t have the proper guidance. If you’re looking to cultivate a more dangerous closed guard, Bodoni has the formula in Submission Arsenal: Closed Guard available now at the BJJ Fanatics online store. Don’t sleep on this one!



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