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Escaping The Armbar
It blows my mind that people who have more than six months of training still do not know how to escape one of Jiu Jitsu’s most fundamental techniques…the armbar. While the armbar is a solid technique, there are some equally solid ways to escape the lock. The big reason people get submitted with it, is that they only practice the offensive techniques and do not practice the defensive techniques. While it is fun to learn and use all the different submissions, you also need to practice the escapes as well. Here are two of my favorite ways of escaping the armbar.
Stack & Pass Escape
The stack & pass escape is probably the most important armbar escape that you will learn. You can hit this escape if your opponent is attacking with an armbar from his guard, but it also possible to defend with this from mount, if you can quickly get to your knees. Either way, here it is. As your opponent throws up his legs to finish the armbar, you need to grab a rear naked choke style grip on yourself, with your hand on the outside leg. You must stack your opponent’s lower body into him, as you use your knee to block his hips. Once he is immobilized, you then use a jackhammer like motion to pull your arm out and end up with side control on your opponent. Not only will you have successfully escaped the attack, but now you will be in a dominant position where you can attack.
While the stack & pass escape can be used in a slower, pressure kind of way, the hitchhiker escape needs to be done fast and furious. This is the escape to use when the armbar is imminent and you are in deep waters. As your opponent goes to the armbar, you can undo whatever defensive grip you had, and turn your thumb down and to the side. With your other hand, lift the leg that is across your neck and roll away and then into your opponent. Not only will you save yourself from being submitted, but you will also be able to get side control on your opponent.
There are different escapes for the armbar, but these two are simple but will save you from getting armbarred. You can easily drill these, and then use them in a live situation. To get good at these, you can less experienced training partners hit the armbar on you in sparring, while you defend with these. Don’t let the foolish notion of never practicing escapes come back to bite you. Having a good resource for escapes is important too. Check out Bernardo Faria’s Escapes From Everywhere and gain these needed defensive techniques.