Sunday, June 6, 2010

idiot's guide to armbars

If ever someone writes a book of that title, I shall buy it. I just don't seem to get it.

The other day in rolling I nearly managed an armbar from sidemount. That was encouraging. BUT. I like closed guard and I cannot seem to get my body organised to do armbars from guard. Ok, I manage triangles, and once I have a triangle, I can get an armbar. But the set up from guard straight to armbar is something I just can't seem to get right. There is always something missing and I tend to have my guard passed as a result.

Yesterday, we did armbars from guard. That made me happy, as I really, really want to work on this. And in fact, we were shown a few extra little things which should make it more successful. Interestingly, we started with getting our partner's arm across our chest much in the same way as I've recently been working on to get a sweep. Say I have him in my guard and I want to get his right arm across. I'll look for a sleeve grip with my right hand. I'll go for a grip on the sleeve at the back of his elbow (or cup the elbow) with my left. Then I put my left leg to the floor and push up off it, turning my hips a little to the right, while I pull on his arm. This elongates him towards my right shoulder and brings his right elbow across my middle. As soon as that happens, I clamp my left arm across his back and grip the back of his left armpit. He will probably pull back away from me to try to get his right arm back, but by pinning him against me with my left arm and keeping a grip on his forearm or sleeve with my right hand, he can't pull his arm out. If I can pull my left elbow down tight, it's even better.

If I were to sweep, I'd hip yout to the right a couple of times to load him up, and then roll him backwards.

But for the armbar, I need to put my left foot on his right hip. Pushing off it, I bring my right leg up towards his armpit and across his shoulders. I also need my left hand on his forearm, so that both hands are pinning it to my chest.

The additional thing we were shown was to place the back of the left knee on his shoulder, so that my left leg can clamp down. This stops him from pushing forward or pulling out. The combined pressure of the left leg on the shoulder and the right leg across his shoulders from the other side made it very uncomfortable for the person in guard, and nearly impossible to pull out of (even if I let go of his right forearm with my hands). To finish, I could push on his head with my left hand and bring my left leg across.

The crucial thing, and that's what I had the most problems with, was to get angled off enough to have a good cut across with my right leg and make it easy to bring the left leg over his head to finish.  I don't know whythat's so hard, but I really had issues with moving to the correct position. So I'll have to work on that some more. But with the extra details on how to set up, and how to use the left knee over his shoulder, I think I have something more to work with now. I really want to master this, because I love closed guard.

After class, a couple of us stayed on a bit longer. We had a few rolls. I was mostly happy as I managed to move around, managed to re-insert knees by moving hips and even escaped some really bad spots. One of the guys is a big purple belt. Still, I got out from under him and even on top. I've never been able to do that before. I fished for a figure four a couple of times which didn't happen, but at least I see the opportunities now. As always I ended up in turtle as some point, and at some time with him on my back. But in the end, he rolled me over and choked me in something called a T choke, which I'd never heard of or seen. He said he went for that because the opportunity came up and all the other choke attempts failed. He said a couple of other kind things about how I went, so that was nice.

He then showed us the choke and we tried it, but it's something I have to go over again and clarify in my own mind :-) All I know is it's damn effective. I could feel him grabbing my collar and as I went over, there was no way to avoid it. And boy, was it tight. One of those "make the top of your head pop off" type of collar chokes.

When he rolled with one of the other guys, there was a progression of arm attacks ending in an omoplata from a setup I hadn't seen. That led to him showing us a few details, and some general observations on how to use weight to control your opponent. He showed that by sitting on someone's shoulder, with the arm between his legs. And with pretty much all his weight pinning down that shoulder, there is no getting up for the bottom guy and a number of attack options open up.

It's a position which I know how to get to a couple of different ways. One is if someone rolls out of an attempted omoplata, the other is if I have side control and I switch my hips to face the bottom guy's hips. As I move towards his head, I can usually peel his elbow out, step back over his arm and come to sit on the shoulder while holding his arm between my legs and pulling up. Having secured the position, I have several options. For example, roll forward into omoplata. Or, keeping the pressure on his shoulder, I turn into him, walking around his head, which tips him over, and I go for an omoplata when I get to the other side. Alternatively, from the trapped shoulder position, I can transition to mount.

So that gave me a lot of food for thought. The principle of pouring your weight into your partner in one important spot (for example the head or a shoulder), rather than weighing him down ineffectively by applying it all over is one we discussed in class on Wednesday, too.

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