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The Arm Drag

The Arm Drag


Popular techniques in Jiu Jitsu are often some of the most simple.

They are able to be performed by white belts and black belts, smaller grapplers and bigger grapplers, men and women. The Arm Drag is an example of a technique that is incredibly flexible since it can be set up as both an offensive and defensive maneuver. When done properly it is extremely difficult to counter due to the angle it creates between the two people, which makes it a great option in most scenarios. 

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To set up the Arm Drag you need your opponent's arm to be straight. To make sure this happens, wrist control is key. You can move into an arm drag when you have control of your partner’s wrist, but you can also work into the move as a counter for someone having wrist control over you! Depending on your preference you can start this move from a variety of positions, though from standing is most common. 

Adam Wheeler has an arm drag that is different than the normal arm drag to back take variation that most people are familiar with. During this technique he is working on the offensive end. To start, grab control of the opposite side wrist and same side elbow; this will bring you shoulder to shoulder with your chest touching your partner’s chest. At this point your hips will still have too much space in between them, so the next step will be to close that distance. To achieve that, reach with the hand that has wrist control across to the opposite underarm while simultaneously stepping in between their legs with the leg that is on the same side as the elbow control in a lunge-like motion.

As you are closing the distance, bring the arm that has your opponent’s elbow around like you are going to grab their belt. Now you will be in direct contact with your partner. Immediately switch your hips the other direction, like you are going to perform a hip toss. You will drag their arm down while bumping your hips up, turning their head lower than their hips and making it easy to bring them down and end up a half-guard or side control position. 

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A defensive arm drag can also be done when your opponent tries to get wrist control. If you are grabbed in a same side wrist control grip, roll your on wrist to grab onto your opponent’s instead. As you are switching the wrist control step to the side towards that arm while reaching with your other hand to grab the back of their elbow. At this point you will have their wrist in your outside hand and their elbow in the arm that is closest to them; this grip makes it extremely hard for them to react and jerk the arm back or reach across to break the grip on their wrist. Drag them forward and slightly towards the side (bringing their arm across their body) with the elbow grip, moving the hand that had their wrist to the back of their knee. They will land face down or on their knees, leaving you with an underhook and control of one of their legs so they can’t turn in and close guard. To gain a more dominant position you can drive with your shoulder and push their knee to half guard or side control. This move can also be set up as a trap if you are comfortable with the take down by offering your arm to your opponent, tricking them into grabbing your wrist. 

This same general set- up can be used from butterfly guard as well. If you are down and your partner is standing, as they step into your guard offer them your forearm to coax them into grabbing your wrist or forearm. Once they have their grip, open your hand and roll it to switch the control into your favor, while simultaneously reaching across to grab behind their elbow and on the triceps. Pull them down with the tricep grip, towards the arm that is pulling, all while moving your wrist control hand to their knee. Perform the rest just like you did from a standing position; use your head or shoulder to push them over and end up in a half guard or side control position. 

Try out these different arm drag variations and become familiar with the multiple ways that you can use them on the mat. Which is your favorite?! 

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