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Old 03-01-2009, 09:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Grappling for MMA: Americana

Technically, this is two techniques: the Americana from mount and the Americana from side control. I decided that I might as well start with the one that comes first in the alphabet. This one is long, but I hope that they'll all go into this much depth. Let me know if it's helpful. Also, if you have questions, reply to the thread.

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The Americana
(or Lateral Keylock, or simply ďkeylock,Ē in some schools) is one of the most easily screwed up moves in MMA. Many fighters screw it up by trying to muscle it in, forcing their opponents elbow in the air, and many fighters fail at using the move because they donít understand how to properly control the arm.

The Technique

The Americana can be applied from mount or from side control, though the mount presents the easiest way to control the arm, as you can lean your whole bodyweight and both arms onto the single arm of your opponent, pressuring it to the floor so that their palm is facing the ceiling. From the side control, it becomes an attack of the arms against the arm (a two on one is still not as good as a whole body against an arm), and so it loses some of its leverage, but it is very important that you keep your weight down while applying this technique.

Using your opposite side hand (that is, if you are attacking your opponents right arm, use your right hand) to pin the wrist and drop your own elbow to the mat, next to your opponents ear so that your forearm (following from the example of attacking the right arm, your right forearm) should be flat on the mat.

The keylock is a reference to the positioning of the opponents arm and the grip that you have on your opponents arm. You maintain the grip on your opponents wrist and drop the weight of your upper body down on top of your opponent. If you are in the side control, this will mean putting the weight of your chest on their chest (and using your toes to maintain balance). If you are in the mounted position, this will mean dropping your chest down onto your opponents face. If you are in a low mount, it is probably desirable to move your legs up into your opponents chest to avoid being caught in an upa.

To secure the keylock, slide your free hand (if attacking the right arm, this will be your left hand) underneath your opponents elbow. As your opponent tries to free their arm, chances are they will make this easy by attempting to force their elbow towards the ceiling. While you do this, try to keep their elbow parallel to the mat, (I know I'm beating this detail into your head, but it's important) instead of allowing them to get it into a position where it is pointed up (that position loses a great deal of the leverage).

Finish the lock by sliding your opponents elbow down towards their ribs while putting slight pressure on the wrist. Do not allow the angle of the elbow to change , as you might with a kimura.

If you are in the mounted position, you may need to move out of the slightly higher mount you took earlier in order to have space to finish the lock, as you might find yourself running into your knee. Thatís fine. Make sure that you are still using the mat, though, to control the arm and not just trying to muscle the submission in, as that is might be the reason itís taking more space.

NOTE: The Americana is not about powering through the arm, itís about controlling the arm with the bodyweight and using the positioning of the elbow, braced by the floor, to apply torque to the shoulder. It is not about crushing the elbow, itís about snapping the rotator cuff in the shoulder. People care about changing the position of the elbow, as if it has some position on the lock, and that is how you lose the submission.

Applied to MMA

Applying this move to MMA is straightforward, but at the same time, itís not. It requires a transition between striking and submission grappling that most fighters donít make. After all, if youíre doing damage in the mount, chances are youíre going to keep banging away instead of looking for a tap.

Sometimes, though, the opponent will cover their face to protect from strikes while mounted. Use both of your arms, and straighten them out, to isolate and control one of your opponentís arms, so that it is flat on the mat with the palm towards the ceiling. Also, make sure that there is a solid crook in the elbow to use as a lever to draw the tap.

Also, the Americana can be set up easily when you are delivering elbows to the face of your opponent from side control, or the mounted position. When you drop elbows on your opponents face, reach for control of the wrist with the opposite hand. From the mounted position, you will be throwing the elbow on the same side as the arm you are trying to control (throwing your left elbow, if you are trying to control the right arm), from the side control, it will be the opposite (right elbow if you are attacking the right arm).The elbow may either stun your opponent or cause them to flail and try to prevent more strikes. In doing this, they may put their arm in an awkward position and give you the opportunity to drop your weight on it to apply pressure for the setup.

Possible Chain

The keylock grip (with one arm wrapped under the elbow, grabbing the wrist of your own hand, which is grabbing the wrist of your opponents) also works well for setting up armbars , if you secure the lock but your opponent attempts to do a hip escape. Practicing transitions to the S-Mount are great for MMA fighters, who can use the position to drop elbows or just take the arm and force the tap.
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i prefer to hit this sub from side top, it gives me 3 armbars on the arm i am attacking, americana, straight, kimura from this possition. i use my head to help if called for so my attack is more than 2 vs 1. this sub can be hit from closed/open guard bottom, s-mount, top half.

the way i was taught to finish was keep pressure and control of thier wrist pinned to floor, lift thier elbow, with the back of thier hand to the floor slide thier hand toward thier feet. making thier hand repesent a paintbrush, hence the name.
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Old 03-02-2009, 02:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kishiro View Post
i prefer to hit this sub from side top, it gives me 3 armbars on the arm i am attacking, americana, straight, kimura from this possition. i use my head to help if called for so my attack is more than 2 vs 1. this sub can be hit from closed/open guard bottom, s-mount, top half.

the way i was taught to finish was keep pressure and control of thier wrist pinned to floor, lift thier elbow, with the back of thier hand to the floor slide thier hand toward thier feet. making thier hand repesent a paintbrush, hence the name.
Yeah, it's the same principle, but guys get carried away with the elbow (if it's pointing towards the ceiling, there is no tap). It's the movement of the arm towards the leg that causes the torque.

I don't like the one from side control because some guys overcompensate and get either rolled or bucked. It's easier to escape to the guard from the bottom of side control. It definitely gets the job done, and the transition to the straight arm lock or kimura is effective.
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Old 03-02-2009, 09:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMan View Post
Yeah, it's the same principle, but guys get carried away with the elbow (if it's pointing towards the ceiling, there is no tap). It's the movement of the arm towards the leg that causes the torque.

I don't like the one from side control because some guys overcompensate and get either rolled or bucked. It's easier to escape to the guard from the bottom of side control. It definitely gets the job done, and the transition to the straight arm lock or kimura is effective.
so you don't lift the elbow when you apply this? and you have slight pressure on the wrist?
me myself i pin the hell out of the wrist, i use my elbow to control the head, and i raise the elbow as i scrape their knuckles on the ground toward their feet, until i hear snapping over thier screams. or they tap
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Old 03-02-2009, 09:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kishiro View Post
so you don't lift the elbow when you apply this? and you have slight pressure on the wrist?
me myself i pin the hell out of the wrist, i use my elbow to control the head, and i raise the elbow as i scrape their knuckles on the ground toward their feet, until i hear snapping over thier screams. or they tap
The lower you keep the elbow, the more control you have on the wrist. Obviously, it can't be flat on the floor.

Definitely, the knuckles should be on the mat. I don't focus on the pressure on the wrist, I focus on the torque in the arm.
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