Jiu Jitsu Armbar: Everything You Need to Know

jiu jitsu armbar techniques

The armbar technique can effectively overcome your opponent in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other grappling martial arts. Aside from that, it’s a highly successful submission against more renowned and severe BJJ competitors. As a result, you should study the arm bar hold move from your early days on the mat to build a challenging attacking game. So, you’re probably wondering, what does the armbar mean in combat sports?

The armbar is a grappling submission move that hyperextends the elbow joints after creating rigid and tight arm control. Besides, you can achieve this arm joint lock from different BJJ positions, including the guard, side control, full mount, back mount, and so on.

This guide will help you comprehend, finish, or rediscover the arm bar variations with setups, transitions, and other fantastic things. As a jiu-jitsu practitioner who is ready to study and master many various submissions to develop a challenging game, you’ve come to the correct place. Stay tuned!


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Armbar History: Who Created This Technique?

bjj armbar

Armbars became the submission choice for several Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors like Rodolfo Viera, Alexandre RibeiroAndre GalvaoMarcus Almeida, and Rafa Mendes. So, you’re probably curious about who created the armbar move?

There is no link between the BJJ armbar submission and its creator since it has existed for hundreds of years. However, this joint lock move is still used today, despite nobody knowing when it was initially used.

These days, several devoted competitors and coaches have developed many jiu-jitsu armbar variation techniques. Therefore, the armbar from guard, mount, back mount and other variations have often been used in BJJ tournaments with a high success percentage.

BJJ Armbar Submission: Definition & Anatomy

The armbar is one of the essential submission techniques available to knowledgeable practitioners in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. It refers to the cross armlock, and it’s most famous by the name Ude Hishigi Juji Gatame in Judo martial art. So, how does the arm bar work?

The armbar is a brutal lock submission that produces a hyperextension of the elbow. In addition, it requires precise control of the opponent’s arm to be applied appropriately. In this case, the opponent will be forced to tap out due to the unsupportable pain landing on his elbow joints.

Unfortunately, this arm submission might damage your elbow if you’re late tapping out or processing the proper escape. Here is why?

armbar anatomy

Arm Bar Jiu-Jitsu Setup: How to Do This Submission?

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you can use the armbar technique in gi and no-gi, which is a significant advantage. Otherwise, it is a rigid arm lock achievable with a few steps after landing in a suitable position, such as the closed guard, mount, etc.

  1. Enter a suitable position, then control your opponent’s arm that you wish to attack. Also, don’t forget to control the opponent’s upper body (chest and head).
  2. Drive the controlled arm between your knees and close the distance.
  3. Maintain control of the opponent’s arm, and ensure that his elbow is lying across your hips.
  4. Use your full-body leverage by driving your hips up and the opponent’s wrist down. These movements will extend the opponent’s elbow and force him to tap out. 

N.B: The armbar steps mentioned above may differ from one BJJ position to another. So, make sure to glance at the variations of the technique coming in the following sections.

Jiu-Jitsu Armbar Variations

bjj armbar variations

The armbar is a fantastic submission with various variations that you should study and practice as much as possible. Moreover, it is achievable from multiple positions, including closed guard, spider guard, mount, side control, and others. In other words, you can get an arm bar hold practically from everywhere, which is why fighters enjoy this submission.

As a result, practicing some other variations will assist you in improving your overall jiu-jitsu performance. That is why you should look at the setups that follow. Have a good time!

  • Armbar from Closed Guard

no gi armbar from guard

The closed guard is one of the most essential and complex guards to learn and master. It’s a good position that gives you a variety of efficient sweeps and submissions, such as the armbar, triangle choke, kimura lock, omoplata, etc.

Aside from that, the armbar from the guard position is one of the most fundamental and well-known submissions. So, you’re probably wondering how to do an armbar from the closed guard? 

The following steps will help set up the closed guard armbar without problems.

  1. Reach the closed guard, or if you’re already there, that’s nice.
  2. Chose one opponent’s arm to attack, then grip the wrist lightly so your opponent cannot detect your attack intent.
  3. Use your legs to break your opponent’s posture. Meanwhile, isolate the arm and use your free hand to control the target arm.
  4. Open your closed guard, then use your legs to shift your hips 90-degree angle within your opponent.
  5. Move your legs to control the opponent’s head and the others underneath his arm.
  6. Make sure that the attacked arm’s elbow is on your hips. And squeeze your legs to close the distance.
  7. Finish the closed guard by driving your hip up and the opponent’s wrist down.

Need more help!

In the following video, Giancarlo Bodoni shows you the proper steps for completing the basic armbar from a closed guard.

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ Fanatics 

  • Armbar from Mount

The mount is one of the most dominant positions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It’s a valuable position that gives you a variety of efficient submission moves, such as the armbar, triangle choke, Americana, collar chokes, etc.

Getting an armbar from the mount position is significantly more impressive in finishing your opponent and, consequently, the BJJ or MMA fight. So, what is the best way to accomplish the mounted armbar?

The following steps will help set up the armbar from the full mount (Juji Gatame) without problems.

  1. To reach the full mount and secure your position (don’t get swept).
  2. Climb up over your opponent’s stomach to reach the high mount position.
  3. Start looking for a cross-collar choke to force your opponent to react by extending his hands. Then, frame both opponents’ hands as they come up, using your knees.
  4. Grab the triceps of the same side of the attacked arm.
  5. Pull the attacked arm into your chest and secure it by bringing your same-sided knee closer to the opponent’s head.
  6. Bring your chest closer to the opponent’s chest and lean your weight into their trapped arm.
  7. Shift your body weight to the leg most outlying from the tapped arm. Meanwhile, you should bring your other leg up higher and around your opponent’s head.
  8. Drive your top leg over your opponent’s face, and secure it. Then, bring your lower leg up and shift your weight to create a 90-degree angle within your opponent.
  9. Close the distance and make the opponent’s arm tight to your chest.
  10. Finnish the mounted armbar by leaning back toward the ground and raising your hips to hyperextend your opponent’s elbow. 

Need more help!

In the following video, Coach John Danaher demonstrates the proper steps for completing an armbar from the mount in BJJ Gi and Nogi.

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ

  • Arm bar from Back Mount

The back mount or back control is the far top dominant position in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other fighting disciplines. It’s a challenging position to outclass any adversary, even the extensive and severe fighters. Since it can offer a variety of efficient submissions, such as the BJJ arm bar, chokes, etc.

As a result, Getting an armbar from the back mount is a significantly impressive move to finish your opponent during a fight. So, how to do the back mount armbar (rear armbar)?

Taking a glance at the following video will give you the necessary steps to complete an armbar correctly from the back control. Have fun!

Source: The Grappling Academy

  • Armbar from Spider Guard

The spider guard is a kind of dynamic open guard in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It occurs when you grip your opponent’s sleeves and have at least one foot controlling an opponent’s arm. Indeed, it allows you to off-balance in your way to some great sweeps.

In addition, jiu-jitsu spider guard offers access to some great and effective attacks, including the armbar, triangle choke, and other combinations to end a fight. So, how do you finish an arm bar from the spider guard position in jiu-jitsu?

Taking a glance at the following video will give you the necessary steps to complete a spider guard armbar correctly. Have fun!

Source: BJJ Fanatics

  • Armbar from Side Control

bjj armbar

Side control is one of the best dominant positions in BJJ grappling. After passing his opponent’s guard, a persistent practitioner will land at the side control position. And, when there, he will have at hand a plethora of submissions, including armbars, chokes, etc.

The side control armbar exists with many variations; all of them will probably help you end a fight. So, what are the needed steps to finish this arm joint lock from side control properly?

In the following video, Lachlan Giles teaches the full process of correctly finishing the far armbar from the BJJ side control. Have fun!

Source: Absolute MMA St Kilda – Melbourne

  • Arm bar from Butterfly Guard

The butterfly guard is an incredibly Brazilian jiu-jitsu guard position. It’s a kind of open guard position where the bottom player sets on the floor and controls his opponent with his shins and legs, which stand like a butterfly.

Indeed, the BJJ butterfly guard is the starting point for various submission techniques, such as the guillotine choke, leg locks, kneebars, triangles, armbars, and so on.

That’s why many fighters are in love with this guard type, such as Marcelo Garcia, Jean Jacques Machado, Renzo Gracie, Nino Schembri, Leonardo Santos, and others.

So, what are the necessary steps to finish an armbar from the butterfly guard position?

The following video will help you understand the process of finishing a butterfly guard armbar properly. Have fun!

Source: Gracie Barra HQ – California

  • Armbar from Knee on Belly

lucas lepri jiu-jitsu

The knee on belly is an authoritarian position in BJJ martial arts that produces unsupportable pressure on the opponent’s stomach. Nevertheless, it’s a good position that offers you a variety of efficient submission moves, such as the rolling armbar, baseball choke, etc.

Getting an armbar from the knee on the belly position is a good step toward finishing a jiu-jitsu fight. But first, how do you armbar from the knee on belly position?

The following steps will help set up an armbar from the knee on belly position correctly.

  1. Reach the knee belly position if you pass your opponent guard or from the side control
  2. Force your opponent to use his hands by applying high pressure on the belly.
  3. Seize the opportunity to grip the opponent’s arm on the other side (preferably from the triceps). Then, pull it toward your chest while maintaining the dominant position.
  4. Turn by 180-degree while controlling the attacked arm tightly.
  5. Use your legs to control both the opponent’s head and chest
  6. Finish the arm bar jiu jitsu submission by squeezing your legs and driving your hip up and the opponent’s wrist down.

Need more help!

In the following video, you will learn how to do appropriately the knee on belly armbar variation. Have fun!

Source: The Grappling Academy

  • Armbar from Turtle Position

how to do an armbar

The turtle is advanced in the BJJ martial art to overpower your opponent. It allows access to the back mount and some efficient submissions like the armbar, clock choke, d’arce choke, anaconda choke, and so on.

In another context, the turtle can be used to prevent an opponent from taking side mount and altering a guard passing, among other things.

The armbar from the turtle can effectively finish a fight. So, how to armbar correctly from the jiu-jitsu turtle position?

Taking a glance at the following steps will help perform an armbar from the turtle position.

  1. Enter the top turtle position; you will be there when your opponent escapes the side control or knee-on-belly positions, among other scenarios.
  2. Control your opponent’s hips to prevent him from escaping the turtle position.
  3. Move near the opponent’s upper body while maintaining pressure.
  4. Find your way to control your opponent’s arm, and secure it.
  5. Slide over your opponent’s back, and meanwhile, bring one leg to hook his back and get the other knee to set aside your opponent’s head.
  6. Adjust the position to make the controlled arm so tight. Then, extend your body to bring the opponent’s arm tight to your chest.
  7. Finish the turtle armbar by driving your hips down toward the ground to extend the arm’s elbow. And here is the tap.

Need more help!

The following video will give the necessary details to complete the turtle armbar correctly in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fight. Have fun!

Source: BJJ Fanatics

Otherwise, here are two other turtle armbar attack variations explained by Stephan Kesting. Happy learning!

Source: Stephan Kesting

  • Straight Armbars

how to armbar

The straight armbar is one of the best arm bar variations in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and other martial arts. It’s a fantastic submission that you hyperextended the opponent’s elbow using your hands rather than your hips.

Otherwise, the straight armbar is achievable from many BJJ positions, including the mount, side control, etc. Therefore, how to do the straight armbar from the full guard?

The straight armbar from the guard is likewise the regular guard armbar, except you’re going to attack the same-side arm, not the cross side. So, take a glance at the following steps to complete a straight armbar correctly from the full guard. Have fun!

  1. Reach the full guard position.
  2. Use both arms to control one opponent’s arm, wrist, and elbow.
  3. Break your opponent’s posture.
  4. Make a shrimp move to move your hips near the opponent’s side of the controlled arm.
  5. Isolate the opponent’s arm properly while you’re securing the control.
  6. Move your top leg across the opponent’s back where the knee will crackdown on the nearside shoulder of your opponent. And your lower leg has to have a foot on the opponent’s far side hip.
  7. Squeeze your knees together.
  8. Bring the opponent’s arm and wrist up, then secure it between your shoulder and neck.
  9. Move your arms up to land on the opponent’s elbow and clasp them together using a gable grip.
  10. Finish the straight armbar by driving your arms in a manner to hyperextend the opponent’s elbow and force him to tap out. 

Need more help!

The following video will give precise details on the process of doing the straight armbar from the full guard. 

Source: Chewjitsu

Otherwise, here is another incredible straight armbar variation, including the mount and side control.

Straight armbar from mount

Source: Howcast

Straight armbar from side control

Source: Roger Gracie TV

  • Flying Armbar

The flying armbar move stands among the foremost spectacular submission techniques in mixed martial arts and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s quick, savage, and effective submission when performed correctly.

But, If you cannot do it properly, you will cause an undesirable injury. So, be prudent when you make these acrobatic moves. So, how to perform a flying armbar correctly?

Taking a glance at the following steps will help set up a flying armbar from the standing position properly.

  1. Make sure you’re winning the hand fighting and distance managing while you’re standing position.
  2. Be the fighter who ties his opponent up, one arm around the head, the 2nd overwrapping his arm.
  3. Use the action-reaction principle to cause an explosive opponent’s reaction. For example, you can snap down your opponent’s neck to cause a reaction.
  4. While your opponent tends to regain balance, you have to bring your foot and jump with one leg over the controlled arm toward the opponent’s face.
  5. Keep the controlled arm’s wrist tight to your chest and slide it down.
  6. Finish the jiu-jitsu standing flying armlock by driving your hips up to create a hyperextension of the opponent’s elbow.

Need more help!

The following video demonstrates the necessary steps to accomplish the BJJ standing properly flying armbar variation. Have fun!

  •  Helicopter Armbar

armbar mma

The helicopter armbar movement is among the most impressive submission techniques in BJJ martial arts. It is a rapid, brutal, spectacular armlock submission that, when executed correctly, may be very effective. You’re undoubtedly wondering who was the first fighter to try the helicopter armbar?

Braulio Estima, Gracie Barra’s black belt, was the first BJJ fighter who tried the helicopter armbar.

Aside from that, like the other submissions, the helicopter armbar requires robust control over your jiu-jitsu adversary. So, how to finish this technique accurately?

There are several ways to get into the helicopter armbar, including from the open guard or De La Riva guard. Here are the necessary steps to properly set up the helicopter armbar from the DLR guard position.

  1. Reach the DLR guard position and secure the position.
  2. Load the opponent’s weight over you until he’s floating over you. But, make sure that your hips are underneath your opponent.
  3. Rock backward and roll your opponent’s weight up onto your feet and lift them.
  4. While the opponent’s weight loaded above you, unhook your De La Riva hook, pull the controlling arm towards you, and convey the unhooked foot around your opponent’s head.
  5. Simultaneously, tap the opposite foot on the opponent’s hip to make a rotation.
  6. Your opponent should fall under the armbar position if all is done correctly. 
  7. Finish the helicopter armbar.

Need more help!

The following video will give the necessary details to complete the helicopter armbar appropriately in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu fight. Have fun!

Source: The Grappling Academy

Jiu Jitsu Armbar Escapes

Countering a submission, like the armbar, can be a significant step toward gaining an advantage over your opponent and maybe winning the fight. Although, a successful escaping process depends on numerous elements, including the ability to implement the right moves at the right timing, among other things.

Here are some helpful armbar escapes that you should learn to improve your BJJ game so far. Enjoy the process and take notes. 

  • Armbar Escape from the Guard

Source:

  • Armbar Escape from Mount

Source: Chewjitsu

  • Armbar Escapes By Stephan Kesting

Source: Stephan Kesting

  • Armbar Escapes By Andre Galvao

Source: Atos Jiu-Jitsu H.Q. | World’s Best BJJ Academy – Home Page

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Armbar Injury

The armbar submission provokes an elbow’s hyperextension, which can cause massive elbow pain.

“Hyperextended elbows occur when the elbow joint moves outside its normal range of motion. The injury can be painful and can take several weeks to heal.” According to Medical News Today

So, you’re probably wondering about how to heal elbow after armbar?

In the following video, you’ll get some fantastic pieces of advice and tips to reduce pain and heal your elbow after a severe armbar submission.

Source: SPARK Physiotherapy

Armbar Submission In MMA

Armbars are among the best effective submissions in mixed martial arts. Otherwise, many MMA fighters have proven the efficiency of the armbar move, including Ronda Rousey and many others. 

Enjoy these five fantastic armbar MMA submissions in ONE Championship

Source: ONE Championship

Conclusion

The armbar is an excellent submission in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, MMA, and other martial arts. So, it can be helpful for you to end a fight, and therefore, you should understand how does an armbar work?

The armbar is an essential Brazilian jiu-jitsu submission that hyperextends the elbow joints after creating strict and tight arm control.

Otherwise, the armbar technique has several variations since it’s reachable from many positions and can be done differently. So you’re probably wondering about the best armbar variations that you should learn? 

The closed guard armbar, mounted armbar, side control armbar, and straight Armbars are among the best armbar technique variations you should learn.

I hope this post will help you improve your overall BJJ performance by including excellent armbar techniques in your attacking game. As a result, you’ll be able to conquer more BJJ opponents in the most competitive tournaments.

Let us know: What is your favorite armbar variation?


The triangle choke is another excellent BJJ submission that you should know; click here to learn more.


Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Armbar in Fighting?

The armbar is a grappling submission that causes elbow joint hyperextension after creating tight arm control. 

Why Does the Armbar Hurt?

The armbar submission causes hyperextension of the elbow by driving the hip up and the opponent’s wrist down. As a result, it can hurt and cause excruciating pain, especially when done explosively.

Can You Break Someone’s Arm with an Armbar?

I’ve never seen an armbar break someone’s arm in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or MMA. But, on the other hand, an armbar can cause significant damage to the elbow joints due to hyperextension.