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Quirky Arm Bar from Craig Jones
Barely two years ago, Craig Jones, a fast rising Australian purple belt burst onto the international jiu jitsu competitive scene winning the IBJJF No Gi Worlds, after which earning his brown belt. 2017 would be a banner year for this standout competitor with a performance at the prestigious ADCC Worlds which saw him defeating two of the events favorites in Leandro Lo and Murilo Santana. His defeat of Leandro Lo has been compared to the upset of Royler Gracie by Eddie Bravo, one of the most talked about matches in history.
Sought after most recenty for his leg attack and submission game, Craig Jones is no "one trick pony" as he will show shortly with a Z Guard attack video below. Z Guard is a variation of half guard in which the legs are keep "open ended" and each play a crucial role in controlling distance of the opponent and limit their options. Adding this quirky version of the arm bar game from the bottom Z Guard position will have your opponent's trembling knowing that there is no place you are not able to attack from and take limbs at will.
Check out the video below featuring Craig Jones and his coach Lachlan Giles where Jones demonstrates a quirky arm bar set up from the Z Guard position.
Z Guard Keys
For this technique, Craig makes a point to utilize the foot and toes of the bottom hook to maximize the control that he hands on Lachlan's leg and hip. By simply hooking the thigh, he would give the opponent the opportunity to simply stand up and begin mounting an offense. Instead, he wraps his foot around the lower leg and hooks the toes pointing them downward to provide the best control possible.
One has some options with how you put the upper leg to use. The key is to maintain the distance utilizing the shield and this can be used low across the waist of the opponent or higher across the torso and sternum.
Embracing the Crossface
Even with the best frames in the world, occasionally a strong opponent will sneak through and achieve the cross face and begin attempting to flatten you with their pressure. This is where the position shines for Craig. Rather than fight the cross face, he instead gable grips under the armpit of the cross facing arm, thereby locking the opponent to Craig's upper body and minimizing the control that the cross facing arm has on him. This is a great example of the ability of jiu jitsu to essentially turn the tables on an opponent's strengths and turn them into weaknesses at a moment's notice.
Getting the knee and leg free
Once the cross face arm is control with this gable-gripped underhook stye control, it's now time to turn our attention to freeing the knee and leg of the top leg in the Z Guard position. If the opponent is not controlling or very loosely controlling the hip on the outside, one can simply extend the leg backward and bring it up and over the back of the opponent, setting it up for the finish.
In the event that the hip is being controlled strongly, the alternative would be to bring the knee to the chest and use the knee to push towards the face of the opponent, making them uncomfortable and creating enough space to allow you to work your leg out and around the back.
In either case, the bottom hook is still controlling their leg, preventing their escape and the control on their formerly cross facing arm is keeping them from posturing up as well.
Hooking the hip and taking the arm
Once the leg has been brought up and over either by backing it away from their body and reaching it around, or by forcing the knee upwards towards the face in a bit more violent fashion, it is then extended across their torso reaching to the other side of their body where the toes can hook and further control them from escaping.
Now that the legs are in place, the position of the arm is in great jeopardy and one can easily secure the arm bar from this position of control. There is not much they are able to do at this point and are left with the option of tapping or damage to their limbs.
In this short instructional video, Craig gives some crucial Z Guard tips as well as useful ideas for dealing with hip control and cross face in order to turn a potentially bad situation into a submission. Like any top level grappler, even though Craig is currently being talked about for his leg submission game, the reason these rockstars are known for these innovative positions is because ALL of their positions are solid, allowing them to throw caution to the wind and submit from all every position, leaving no limb safe.
If you want to learn more from one of the most talked about grapplers of 2017, you can get Craig Jones' "Down Under Leg Attacks" here in DVD and On Demand formats from BJJ Fanatics! After an amazing ADCC run and some great matches under the EBI competitive umbrella, you will want to take advantage of this amazing offer!