Easy Entry to Crucifix with Armbar Finish
Sneaky Armbar Using Your Legs!
The crucifix is a position in Jiu Jitsu that is both effective for control and submission attacks although it is not as popular or widely utilized as it could be. This position is one of the few positions outside of back control in which the attacker is behind the defender. In fact, in the gi, many of the same or similar submissions from back control can be attacked from the crucifix position.
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The main difference between the two positions is the location of the attacker’s feet. In the crucifix, the attacker’s legs are perpendicular and behind the defender with the lower legs and feet trapping the defender’s arm. By controlling the far arm with the legs, submission attacks become easier. I will admit, however, that the crucifix and its successive submissions are not as effective as those from the back.
Achieving the crucifix position is usually done from turtle position. Although attacking the back is usually the primary objective while attacking a turtled opponent, some of the defensive moves they make the crucifix a better submission to attack. For example, if the defender tries to attack a single leg while in turtle, they are exposing their arm for the attack. The following video by BJJ Fanatics shows how to force the arm trap and roll to the crucifix.
The most difficult part of attacking the crucifix against a turtled opponent is initiating and finish the roll after trapping the arm. Most defenders are aware of the dangers of this trap and become very defensive against rolling. Because of this, it may take more than a couple attempts in different directions to get the roll. Interestingly, the roll I use most is in the direction of my head, forcing the defender to roll on their side rather than forward.
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As I mentioned previously, the crucifix is innately inferior to back control, especially without the gi. Although maintaining control isn’t too much of a problem here, finishing submissions can be rather difficult because it’s hard to attain the proper leverage. Because of this, any time you have the option to transition to the back, you should take it. This is mostly done against people who defend the crucifix by bridging. Bridging creates a lot of space under the hips of the defender, usually enough to bring one’s leg under and around for a back hook.