Adding The Crucifix Armbar To Your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Arsenal

Thank you to Combat Skin for hooking me with the gear for this video series!


If you are familiar with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Mixed Martial Arts, I’m sure you have seen some sort of crucifix variation at some point or another.

A very popular crucifix setup in MMA is the mounted crucifix, where the top grappler has their limbs pinned to the mat with their head exposed, leaving them open to countless elbows, forearms, hammer fists, punches, etc.

This position spells almost certain doom for fighters; however, it offers a little more variety for the grapplers out there who prefer to stay away from the physical blows that our Mixed Martial Arts brethren put up with.

A way in which Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players can leverage this position is by attacking the opposition with an armbar.  What is normally a pretty effective hold, it gets a little more complicated when you begin to factor in the crucifix position.

Let’s take a closer look as to how you can properly execute the crucifix armbar, and start scoring some slick looking submissions!

Advanced Grappling Techniques For Every Level Of Grappler!armbar2

There are a few ways as to how this move can be setup, but for this specific scenario, we’ll assume that our opponent just shot in for a takedown, and we were able to stuff it.  Due to this, we now have our opponent in the front head lock position:

  • Let’s assume they have one leg tangled up.  We’ll want to turn into them with a whizzer as we sprawl our hips backwards to free the leg.
  • Grab his near-side tricep and hold it in place while you swivel your hips out, so your far side leg is now on the mat, with his arm dangling between your legs.
  • Take your hand and reach for your far hip, while you reset your hips.  This will trap their arm and you are now on the side of your opponent.
  • Underhook his far side arm and grab the wrist.
  • Kick your leg back and sprawl your hips towards the mat.
  • With the pressure being applied to his arm, open your knee and drive your hips into their arm which will cause them to tap.

This isn’t your typical armbar, but it sure is effective and will get the job done when you properly execute it!

Breaking It Into Bits

When learning new moves—especially ones that are a little more advanced—it’s important that you don’t just jump right into it.  Break the move down into bite size pieces that will allow you the opportunity to properly understand the move and it’s function.

In no time flat, you’ll be able to start pulling off the move at will and you’ll be striking fear in the hearts of your opponents.

Keep learning and keep improving, and there’s no telling how quickly you will progress up the ranks in BJJ!  Now enough reading, go give the crucifix armbar a try and let me know how it works!

Be sure to check out this other great video on the Crucifix Armbar from

Dan Faggella

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