Demian Maia Breaks Down An Acrobatic Armbar Escape

There are few skilled grapplers in the Mixed Martial Arts realm that can come close to Demian Maia.  Sure, there are some fantastic grapplers that have tried their hand in MMA; however, none have made the long term commitment that Maia has.Untitled

An elite grappler, Maia has been there and done that when it comes to the submission game.  A decorated grappler, he has been held in high regard in both the MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu communities, and rightfully so.

During a recent YouTube scavenger hunt, I came across a nice little video in which Maia breaks down a rather unique escape from the armbar.  We’ll get a little more in-depth with it, but this is the type of escape that will call for great flexibility and coordination to pull off.  Make sure you’re nice and limber before giving it a shot!

Determining Their Knee Position

As your opponent goes to apply the armbar, there a few things that you must first take into consideration:

  • How susceptible are you to the hold?  Make sure that your hands a clamped together,  not allowing him easy access to the armbar.  Be stubborn with it, remember that he is trying to HURT you!
  • Where are his knees?  If one is best and blocking your path, this move will become difficult.  The second you see him start to relax a bit, spring into action!  This will open the door for you to escape.

With those two things in mind, we can go further into the technique.

As they fight for the armbar, make sure you time your movement as close to perfect as possible.  Rocking your hips upwards, you’ll want to kick your feet towards to the ceiling, making sure that your legs remain straight and are NOT bent!

Once you gather the proper momentum and have your legs pointed towards the sky, rock off on an angle heading towards your opponent.  Keeping your hands tightly clamped, you should now end up straddling over the upper body of your opponent, with your own armbar attempt perfectly setup.  Be sure to check out this article on armbar escapes from

What If They Dig Their Shin In Deep?

The main thing that presents any kind of roadblock in this situation is the heel/knee/shin of your opponent.  As I previously stated, this move is best done when they are calm and their knee has slack too it.

If they are being stubborn, and their shin is in deep, all is not lost and you can still pull this off!  Make sure you hit an angle, going AWAY from your opponent.  Turning into them will do you no favors, and will only make the submission worse.

After going away from them, you should be in one line with your arm.  This will decrease the odds of them being able to hit the move, while allowing you to also perform the escape technique discussed above.

This looks tricky—which to some it may be—but it’s very easy once you get the hang of it.  It’s a nice escape that not only saves you from an armbar, but allows you to deliver one of your own!  Not a bad trade off.

To learn more about escapes – check out this article on

Dan Faggella

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *