The development of a solid ground game in MMA competition relies heavily on a fighter’s ability to effectively execute, defend and counter the armbar technique, one of the most commonly used submissions in modern MMA.
The armbar is a basic submission commonly used in MMA, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, jujutsu, judo, catch wrestling, and various grappling martial arts. The technique uses leverage to hyper-extend the opponent’s elbow joint, causing submission.
The first step to execute an armbar is to secure the opponent’s arm. This is commonly achieved using a punch counter. Next, the attacker must secure the opponent’s wrist while turning his hips and opening his legs.
The attacker then quickly rotates his body, moving into position and closing his legs across the opponent’s chest, or chest and face. The opponent’s arm is trapped between the attacker’s thighs with his elbow facing the attacker’s hips and palm facing away from the attacker’s chest.
The attacker squeezes his knees and retains control of the opponents wrist using his hands and arms in order to secure arm control and prevent escape. With the opponents wrist at the chest and elbow at the hips the attacker extends or arches his hips toward the elbow. This extends the opponent’s arm and/or hyper-extends the elbow leading to submission or injury.
The armbar can be executed effectively from various positions, which makes the technique a threat in nearly any situation. The most basic form of the armbar is performed from the top mount position. However, the move can also be applied from bottom guard, top or bottom side control, and even from the stand-up, called a flying armbar. In MMA it is most commonly applied from the top mount or bottom guard.http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-980350005225809398
The armbar is a difficult technique to counter. However, there are numerous defenses to the move.
Armbar defense starts with the defender keeping his arms in tight and simply not leaving an arm out to get caught. An effective hand grip to avoid arm control involves the defender grabbing onto his own arms and bringing them close to the body, making it difficult for the attacker to gain control of a wrist.
Once the armbar effort is initiated the defender should attempt to keep his elbow bent by grabbing the arm being attacked with both hands and wrenching it free before the position is secured. However, this often merely delays the application.
A very common armbar escape in MMA is to simply lift up and slam the opponent to the mat in an attempt to free the arm before it is fully extended. This technique worked very effectively for Quinton “Rampage” Jackson during his time fighting in Pride FC.
The most common counter to a secured armbar is the shoulder-roll escape. The defender turns his thumb toward the attacker, rotating his elbow upward, away from the attackers body, and then rolls away from the attacker to escape. The defender rolls into the top guard of the opponent or back to his feet.
A failed armbar attempt by the attacker will not land him in a severely vulnerable position. Commonly, the most vulnerable position the attacker will end up in is bottom guard. Although the attacker ends up on his back, he is not in a very dangerous position: especially for a fighter well versed in submissions. However, the attacker can lose a huge advantage by risking an armbar attempt from full mount.
The armbar is a very effective move in MMA and a failed attempt often effects the fight and attacker minimally, because the submission relies on timing, technique and leverage more than a fighter’s strength.