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Simple Arm Control from Open Guard
The arm drag is an extremely important technique to learn which opens up entries to back takes, sweeps, and even submissions. The beauty of the arm drag is that it is one of those positions that pays incredible dividends in jiu jitus on the competition mats, but also serves a number of fundamental purposes in self defense scenarios. By using the the misdirection inherent in the arm drag, one can put themselves in a much safer position to the side of an attacker wishing to do us harm.
The position we are looking at today in this piece is not an arm drag per se, but it utilizes the sense of misdirection and instead of throwing the opponent forward and at an angle, you will instead control the opponent's arm and work through a variety of reactions.
The longer one trains, the more you will see the importance of the fundamentals that are rooted in the early self defense techniques and how they are much more effective and timeless than the latest flashy techniques. For further discussion of the status of BJJ as a martial art of self defense, check out this article from BJJ Fanatics on the topic here.
In the video below, BJJ black belt and self defense guru Chad Lyman demonstrates a few ways to utilize grips and control an opponent or attacker's arm very much like an arm drag except rather than passing the arm across, you will maintain control.
Initially, you will establish a four finger grip at the end of the opponent's sleeve using a cross grip. Once this grip has been established you will push that hand down towards the ground. It is not important whether or not you completely press the hand to the ground because you are simply keeping it straight to allow you wrap it up with your same side arm. Once you've wrapped up the arm you will reach for and secure a grip on your lapel to maintain control on the arm.
Now that this arm belongs to you, you will spring into action. In the first example, you will use your free hand to base and come up to your knees maintaining strong body control on the back of their arm, essentially preventing them from turning back towards you. This simple arm control from open guard will create a number of opportunities for back takes.
In the next few examples, Lyman shows how to deal with the adept opponent who reacts to your simple arm control and jumps over you to attempt to pass the guard. He stresses the importance of not relinquishing the grip and uses the opportunity to roll the opponent towards the shoulder of the arm you are controlling. Without any ability to base out, the opponent has no choice but to fall to that side and be swept immediately after feeling that they were in a much better position than you. These are the best sweeps by the way and should be relished.
No matter which side the opponent decides to pass to, whether it is behind us or in front of us, Lyman has an answer and utilizes that simple arm control akin to an arm drag to sweep them and end up on top. The key to remember is to keep moving through the transition and not freeze up. By freezing up, we lose any momentum that we can capitalize on which will force us to rely too much on strength to make the sweep happen.
Take Chad's advice at the end of the video and "Train a little. Alot" and add this technique to your arsenal. It's something you can add right now that will give your opponent's a new problem to try to solve. And remember all good techniques have strong self defense elements and practical applications.
Now that you've seen the skill and experienced the instruction style of BJJ and MMA guru Chad Lyman, you will definitely want to out his series "Using Weapons for Self Defense" where the stakes are raised to the highest point they can be raised, life and death. In this series, Chad will teach you techniques and tricks that could save your life.