The armbar can be a very “basic” move at times, almost seemingly available at all times for high level grapplers, but there are situations in which the hold can be incredible difficult to execute and get the tap out.
This technique was taken from Alan Belcher’s MMA Immunity Course – and you can see the full Immunity Course review online now at the Science of Skill (videos, too!).
A very common scenario for armbars is from bottom guard, when your opponent thinks they have the upper hand. But like always, things won’t always just play out in the easiest way. Allow Alan Belcher to explain.
Applying The Armbar Against Stubborn Resistance
We all know the usual setup for an armbar from bottom guard:
- Grab the arm and pull it across your body.
- Your left foot goes on their hip, while your right foot pins their shoulder down.
- Swinging your left leg up, push their head away and apply the hold.
It’s a rather simple setup, something any white belt can go for. Sure, your opponent won’t just sit there and allow it to happen, but it’s still an easy submission compared to most holds out there.
If you have proper range of motion and flexibility in your legs and hips, then this can be a fantastic move for any new comer—and experienced vet—to have in their arsenal. However, what do you do when your opponent begins to fight off the hold and try to put you in a tough spot?
Alan Belcher On: Dealing with Armbar Defense
Let’s hit the rewind button for a second. After we swing up the left leg and go for the hold, let’s say our opponent begins to defend it intelligently. Stubborn as any opponent would be, they cross their arms and won’t allow you to extend the hold, not even an inch.
As they do this, they also begin to stack you up and get your hips above your head. Releasing with your right arm, you want to bring your left arm through and hook onto their arms. Taking your right hand, reach under and grab onto their far leg, as you pull yourself under their body, ending up on the opposite side.
From here, you should be able to kick free their arm lock, and isolate an arm. From here, simply apply the armbar for the win. However, if they continue to defend it, there’s a way of going about it.
Grab their shin, and roll forward so you end in top side control with the hold in place. From here, break the hold and go about applying the armbar for the victory.
So there you have it! It’s a traditional arm bar setup (see Alan’s own arm bar setup video here), with a nice transition for when it’s met with stubborn defense. This is as good as it gets, and is something even white belts can do. Let me know how it works for you!