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How to Escape the Armbar
One of the oldest submissions in all of grappling is the armbar. It is a great submission because it is effective at all levels. This submission can be attacked from both the guard and top positions like mount and side control. For the newer students, escaping this submission can be a nightmare. With the right knowledge, however, you can quickly improve your chances of defending and escaping the armbar.
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In order to become a good defender of the armbar, regardless of position, the defender needs to be cognizant of every part of their arm. If the shoulder is shallow, then the armbar will be weak, but if its deep, then the defender should prepare for a more difficult escape. Second, as Kurt mentions, the elbow should be kept closer to the defender than the attacker. Finally, keep your upper arm and thumb pointed in the direction of your head in case you need to attempt a hitchhiker escape.
The most important element to armbar escapes is timing. As Kurt mentions, don’t waste your time bridging if your opponent has their hand as a base on the ground. They will have a lot more power to push you down here and it will just make you more exhausted. Instead, wait for that precise moment where they bring their base in to help to begin your movements. This drill requires an explosive bridge than will surprise the attacker. If they see this defense coming, they will use the leg over your head to easily push you back down.
Finally, I wanted to discuss a problem I see a lot when people attempt this escape. After bridging and forcing the attacker on their side, where they are weak, a lot of grapplers tend to get stuck and are not able to get up to their knees, which is crucial. In order to prevent this, maintain the bridge the entire time and remove the bottom knee out first. This will make getting to the top much more smooth.
Now that you have gotten on top, it is important to be away of the potential transitions the attacker can make to continue attacking. The most common ones include a transition to triangle or omoplata. Knowing this, after getting on top, focus on posturing and slipping the arm out.
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