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The Perfect Armbar With John Danaher
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The Perfect Armbar With John Danaher

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The armbar, especially from mount is without a doubt one of the first submissions you learned.  

While ll likely learned slightly different variations with slightly different levels of detail, I’d be shocked if anyone learned it for the first time the way Professor John Danaher breaks it down in his video with Professor Bernardo Faria, How To Do The Perfect Armbar.

Professor Danaher starts us off in the mount and acknowledges that once any your training partners or opponents have been training for any period of time, they will likely not be pushing up on your chest giving away free arm bars.  We can be certain that the opponent will be resisting and likely have their elbows tucked tight to their body. Professor Danaher doesn’t like to attempt the arm bar until he is able to get the elbow away from the body and above the shoulder line.  This obviously isn’t an easy task against someone who is resisting, but as always Professor Danaher explains it with such great detail it’s easy to follow. Let’s take a look at the breakdown.

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First, from the mounted position, assuming the opponent has their elbows tight and we need to work to separate them from their sides, we are going to reach over and secure a cross face with one arm.  You’ll want this to be as deep as possible, ideally cupping the shoulder with your hand.


Next you will turn slightly opening your chest toward the arm you are now trying to move.  You’ll put your elbow under theirs and start walking the elbow up. Each time you hit a stopping point, move your head forward and away from the arm and extend your arm (straighten the arm).  Continue this process until you’re able to get the arm above the shoulder line and across the centerline (over the opponent’s face).


Once the elbow is trapped with the arm over the face we can lower our head to trap the elbow and prevent the arm from moving back.  At this point the arm that was walking the up is now cupping the crown of the opponent’s head. This allows you to slide up to a very high mount and switch to an S mount position.  It’s imperative to keep all of your weight on your opponent until you have the cross face leg in position. In order to do this, you should be attempting to put your ear on the opponent’s leg.  This should not only keep all your weight on the opponent, but also make the soon to be cross face leg very light and easy to move into position. Once we have the cross face leg in position, we can sit to the mat as close to the opponent as possible.  

The Best Instructional To Fix Your Armbar! Click Learn More below!

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Initially when you sit you will likely be in an elbow to elbow control on the opponent’s arm.  What we want to do next is switch our hand position. To do this we replace the arm currently controlling the opponents arm with the other by shooting that arm in elbow deep and reshooting the second arm in an elbow to wrist position.  With this control we should have their arm in an L shape, with the forearm on our chest. Once we start to lean back inevitably the opponent will connect their hands trying to defend the arm bar. We run the risk of losing the arm bar if we do not control the opponent’s arm.  The best way to do this according to Professor Danaher is to use your free hand to grab the opponent’s arm, above the elbow and connect it to your inner thigh closest to his lower body. This grip will make it nearly impossible for the opponent to escape.

At this point we can start to lay back maintaining our control of their arm and transitioning to a half hand grip (grabbing the opponent with half your grip on their hand, and half on their wrist).  The final step is to move your foot on the other side of the opponent’s arm and join the cross face leg. Using your two hands one on top of the other with the half hand grip the bottom hand should be pulling the arm down, while the other arm should be pushing.  This should cause your elbow on the pulling side to turn down towards the mat, and the other elbow to move up toward the ceiling. This is a very strong control and submission capable of doing immense damage, so train it with care.

Join John Danaher with the latest installment of his systematic approach to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Check Out "Enter The System: Arm Bar" and get to work on improving your armbar game! BJJ Fanatics has it here!

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