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What If You're Stuck in An Armbar?
Have you ever been in a situation where you asked your BJJ instructor how to get out of a particular position or submission and they've simply paused, looked at you and said "Don't get stuck in that position" or "Don't get caught"? To say this is frustrating is probably one of the biggest understatements in the BJJ world. Of course part of the pain and heartbreak that we feel in this statement is because we secretly know it's true and don't want to admit it. Most likely you're going to walk away, swear under your breath, and pray to the BJJ gods that you never get stuck again.
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Or maybe you can check out Kurt Osiander, Bay Area BJJ OG and his video where he shows how to get out of a full on armbar. Kurt is famous for telling students and fans when they ask him how to get out of a position, that they f**ked up a long time ago. This may in fact be quite true, but in the video below from his new series Fundamentals of a Jiu Jitsu Renegade, he shows how to be stuck in an armbar and completely unf**k yourself. Check it out!
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Now to reiterate the disclaimer, that this is not an ideal position to find oneself in, but unless you're some sort of impervious grappling savant with magical powers, chances are you're going to find yourself in a few armbars during your BJJ training. Let's see how Kurt helps us fix this terrible dilemma.
First and foremost, we've got to strengthen our ability to stop the arm from extending. Kurt does this by grabbing his own gi lapel and holding on for dear life. We are talking a very limited amount of time, so any precious seconds we can delay the forthcoming arm submission the better.
After locking that lapel grip, Kurt reminds us to keep our elbows tight, pretty much a BJJ staple in almost all moves, but something that's easy to forget about when you're deep in the danger zone. Once you bring your elbows tight, you will be engaging your lats and other muscle groups to help your poor biceps with the task of bracing this armbar.
The next key point requires a bit of timing. In this example, Kurt's attacker is using his free arm to base to stay upright. When he brings his second arm in to help finish the submission, Kurt will quickly secure a grip on their sleeve. On the surface this is a temporary distraction for the arm, but the true effect is to be able to keep them from basing when the bridge comes.
By bringing his feet tight to his butt, Kurt will then bridge up high taking the opponent to the side. Now don't get too crazy here, you are almost out. There are still a few things to complete before you're safely out of the danger zone.
Once you've got them over it's important to secure their hips and head to prevent them from generating a great deal of power and extending your arm. Once you've timed your escape with the reloading of their hips and pulled your arm free, you are able to secure the pass and end up in a good side control. Hopefully your side control is so good that they'll ask their instructor how to get out and the instructor will tell them "Don't get stuck in side control." It's the BJJ circle of life!
For more techniques to help unf**k your BJJ game, check out Kurt Osiander's Fundamentals of a Jiu Jitsu Renegade available from BJJ Fanatics!