Join Date: May 2006
Location: New York City, New York
After reading through the thread, there seems to be an open debate about using the armbar as a way of submitting bigger guys, so I figure I'll throw my two cents in.
Everyone here seems to believe that there is a set form for setting up an armbar from the back position and that, frankly, is a load of bullsh*t. Even within Gracie Jiu-Jitsu there are dozens of schools of thought on the way to approach an armbar from the back. There are those who believe in open legs over crossed legs, those who believe in creating a perpendicular angle as opposed to going more over the head to attack the shoulder (which also gives for the opportunity to set up a triangle) and there are those who believe in attacking it with a kimura grip as opposed to a traditional "hook the tricept" grip, so I'd light to clear the air about any sort of traditional technique. There are about 20 different ways that I can think of to attack the armbar from that position. You want to talk about specific ones to use against the big man, then let's do that.
If you are attacking the armbar against an opponent who has a weight advantage, look at the way Nogueira did it against Bob Sapp and the way that Ikuhisa Minowa did it against Butterbean. There's alot to be said for a few definite technical necessities, but there's also alot to be said for a few tweaks that can adust your leverage to your advantage if your know how to take advantage of them.
For starters, you'll notice that Noguiera works the kimura grip to pull the arm lose. That keeps him from misadjusting his upper body to effectively use the leverage that he wants, and assures him that he is going to have control of that arm at all times. This, I've found, is very important against armbarring a larger opponent.
Secondly, staying perpendicular to the body will only prevent stacking if your legs are strong enough to push your opponent off of you. If your size issue is not so severe that this is the case, then that's fine, but that's not true for alot of us smaller guys, myself included. Going over the top, so that you have an angle closer to 45 degrees between his shoulder and his head allows for better shoulder manipulation and will prevent your opponent from using his pectoral muscles and back from muscling in. As I mentioned before, this also gives you a good triangle set up if he starts to try and roll you over so that he can take the top position and stack you.
Finally, if you intend to finish an opponent with an armbar it's important to control the wrist. The elbow and shoulder will follow as long as your hips are established and you have substantial wrist control. Against a big guy, this means you will need to have strong forearms, but most importantly it means that you will need to keep his hand facing up, so that you can lock down the submission. If you can't do that, then you are going to have to learn how to transition to an omoplata or a kimura effectively, otherwise you're in serious trouble.
Hope that clears some things up. If you've got issues or questions, let me know.
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Last edited by IronMan; 03-07-2008 at 01:23 AM.