Attacking the Armbar off of the Back
When I started training, I absolutely loved taking high-point positions. But as I've gotten more experienced, I've actually become disinclined to taking the mount and hanging onto the back. There are lots of positions I take the back from, but it's really not my favorite place to be.
More than anywhere else, I like to be in side control. I'm aggressive from side control and have an easy time maintaining the position.
Now, I don't mind being on the back, so when were working techniques and ultimately drilling from that position tonight, I was down, and it worked pretty well. I really don't like attacking from the mount, since most of my training partners are bigger and buck hard, so unless I get under the elbows into a really high position, I have to post my arms out and work slower than I'd like, and spend a lot of energy just holding the position.
That said, there's one part of controlling the back that I really like, and that's the feeling of popping the elbows out, establishing control with the underhooks, working the hips out and locking up the armbar. I'm a joint-lock guy (though I have a few chokes I love; the guillotine, the anaconda and the gogoplata) so attacking the armbar is just the natural attack.
I kept finding myself in the same position, over and over again, while I was attacking from the top, and that's a position that I've been seeing in judo a lot against turtled opponents, too.
When you've locked up the hammer lock (or whatever grip you like) on the armbar and are ready to swing your leg over the head finish the armbar, and your opponent bellies down, tries to hide their wrist, and leaves you with a position where you have to choose between (a) throwing the leg over the head and attempting to muscle out the armbar, (b) using the foot that will eventually go over the head to hook behind the head and force them to roll over and (c) bailing on the armbar and trying something else.
I did all three, though since the purpose of the drill was to submit from the back, there was a question about whether it was ok to actually switch once I had been rolled over. I don't much care about that, though it obviously matters for the purpose of the drill.
Option A (a.k.a. trying to be a big, strong guy)
I'm a small guy, and so I'm physically smaller than most of my training partners, and when I try and straighten the arm out, if I don't have the grip with my hips high on the tricept, with my knees close together, I tend to lose it. Now, that's made me pretty efficient at getting a very tight technique, but its worth mentioning that, unless you're really tough, this is not really a good approach.
Still, if you're going to do it, and you feel your opponent shrugging you off, adjust your grip on the arm so that you have a good position above the elbow, try to scramble your hips up to close to the shoulder, keep the feet curled in and pinch your knees. The one thing that I've drilled in armbars (though not at sparring speed, for the most part) is trying to maintain the high position on the arm without using my hands.
it's good to drill if you're just training with a friend. Lock in your armbar, make sure your position is good, then let go of the grip on the arm and try to maintain control of the position by curling your heels and pinching your knees. It engages the abs really well, and trains the legs for armbars and triangles.
If you can maintain the position, you can finish the armbar. That has to be priority #1 if you're just going to attempt to rip the arm loose and finish the match.
Plan B (a.k.a. the good idea)
Personally, I like trying to roll my opponent. It's really easy to just slip the arm over and take a traditional position that you'd get during an armbar attempt from the top, and though people often loose a little control of the arm, often you have a second to adjust during the roll so that the loss isn't substantial.
The one thing that almost all of my competitive opponents, in judo and BJJ, have tried to do from this position, is roll up on top before I slip the leg over. My realization has been that just turning it into a race can win a lot of the time. It's never going to be 100%.
My personal choice from this defense is to maintain a tight position on the arm and, as they roll up, go for what would be a belly-down armbar from the guard. Basically, I'm doing a gramby roll, maintaining the armbar position without the leg over the face (though, again, I have the option to swing the leg over for an armbar, as I do with the belly-down version; or I can hook the head and roll them again until I feel that I have a sufficient lead on them to lock up the armbar and finish). Usually rolling them once more is sufficient to ensure that they can't posture and follow you to their knees again. Often, just going to the belly down armbar is fast enough to ensure that they can't do anything.
Plan C a.k.a. not a real plan
There are a number of really good attacks from this position. Triangles work really well, though I don't particularly like them. I like trying to look for an inverted triangle when its there, and caught it once tonight. I also like moving to the triangle position and, often, since they're trying to bend the arm, you can force it into an omoplata, though against better guys that's a fight.
Or you can release the grip on the arm, turn the grip with the lower hand into an underhook and sprawl the legs back, though this one can get precarious if your fighting a wrestling. I love to bait the guillotine, so I particularly like this move, as I find I often get ridiculously high guard position after this move (they tend to reach for the legs and panic pretty hard.
Anyway, that's all for tonight.
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