How to Finish an Armbar When They Grab One Arm (BJJ)

Updated on October 22, 2016
revolutionbjj profile image

Andrew Smith is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs the BJJ Tutorial Encyclopedia here.

Grip Break Rabbit Hole

Armbar grip breaks (and general maintenance of the armbar finish position) make up the key to being able to finish the armlock on more than twice as many opponents. As you go further down the rabbit hole, you start to notice that a technique that works to deal with one particular style of defense doesn't work at all to deal with another defense. As such, having excellent maintenance is as important as knowing the right techniques to break the grips. Unfortunately, that part is 100% up to you, as you need to be in the Armbar Finish position as many times as possible and for as long as you possibly can. The good news is that which grip break to use is pretty easy to figure out.

Starting Position

The particular rabbit hole we're going down today involves the "middle finger defense", when your partner hides their hand behind their biceps, but not underneath your leg (we'll cover that next time). While this isn't always as good of a grip as the lapel grab or the "rear naked choke" defense, it's still formidable, and comes up frequently in transition. Generally speaking, it's better to have the "pocket" grip than the Kimura grip for this finish sequence, so if you got to the armbar with a Kimura grip, go ahead and switch to the "pocket" grip. Make sure that you are "elbow deep" with the pocket grip, not shallow! From here, you can try the simplest, least energy option: just lean in the direction of your partner's feet. If their grip isn't incredibly committed, you can often generate enough leverage to strip their hand free. One detail, though: make sure you lift your elbow up away from your body, straightening their arm completely (as opposed to giving them the opportunity to re-grip their biceps or palm).

Swimming option

Another grip break that works extremely well from the "middle finger" defense is the swimming grip break. Starting with the pocket grip, you actually want to make your pocket hand shallower for this one, so you allow room for your other arm to swim through. If your left hand is in your pocket, your right hand is going to swim under, but not from the side that feels most comfortable and natural; instead, you're going to swim through from the same direction your first hand is fed through. This will feel (in scientific terms) wonky, but it's going to pay off when you have the leverage to shoulder lock your partner and strip their grip along the palm that's trying to grab. Your left hand can now come free, and then clasp your right hand over the top, dropping your elbow down to help with the leverage. As you wrench their arm free, be careful not to inadvertently shoulder-lock your partner. If they straighten their arm to defend, you can finish the armlock with their arm trapped under your armpit.

The Hip Bump Option

The hip bump option is probably the simplest one, conceptually, but there are a few tricks to it. Start with your patented pocket grip with your left arm in your hip pocket. Next, base with your right hand behind and to your right, and plant your left foot on the ground as though you are going to stand up in base. Now, act like someone is calling your name behind you, turning to your right in order to break the grip. This can be a dynamic, fast technique, so be careful with your partner during this transition. Once again, flare your elbow out so that your partner's arm stays straight.

Gi or no-gi?

See results

Maintain!

All three of these options will frequently work with the "middle finger" defense, and possibly for some other defenses as well, although they work best with this particular grip. Remember: maintaining the position is everything, so be sure that you are able to do this before worrying too much about breaking the grip (you'll get there eventually, but if your partner is able to come up on top immediately every time, you'll never get good at breaking their grips). As always, please do let me know how these techniques are working for you! Have fun with your training partners, and know that there are plenty more options for breaking grips from the armbar.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • revolutionbjj profile imageAUTHOR

      Andrew Smith 

      23 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Thanks, Leigh!

    • profile image

      Leigh 

      23 months ago

      I catch these videos from your posts on Reddit and I really must say the details of the moves, flow and use of them in combination, and layout of the blog is all excellent. I'm a purple belt and really starting to focus my game on armbars and kimuras and your recent posts have really fit right into that. I feel like I can always take something here and start drilling it at my next session. Keep up the great work!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)