Ever struggled to attack a choke from the back and thought to yourself, “Should I just give it all up and go for the armbar?”
I most definitely have.
While nailing a slick armbar from the back is guaranteed to score you a bunch of likes on Instagram, I’ll be honest with you…
It’s a risky move, and if done wrong, you can go from hunter to hunted in a blink of an eye.
This is because giving up back control to attack an armbar gifts your opponent with a golden opportunity to find the space they need to escape.
But, in this article, you’re going to learn the secret to making this “risky” technique work…
And work consistently.
This is something Keenan teaches to his students at Legion AJJ HQ to mix up their attacks from the back without giving up position, and now you can learn it too.
Let’s get into it.
How To Submit Your Opponent With An Armbar From The Back (Without Giving Up Back Control)
Right from the get-go, it’s important that you first establish a strong back control, with your hooks in and seat belt in place
Next, you need to find a way to isolate your opponent’s arm.
To achieve this task, Keenan uses what he calls a far side ankle pin.
Isolating Your Opponent’s Arm With The Far Side Ankle Pin
To secure the ankle pin, Keenan passes his right leg to the opposite side of Miha’s torso, while at the same time pushing Miha’s left wrist forward and down with his own left hand.
As Miha’s left arm travels in this direction, it allows Keenan to place his right leg over Miha’s forearm, where he can now secure an uncontested grip on his own ankle.
After the ankle pin is secure, Keenan then places his left leg on the mat and uses it to scoot his hips back, sinking Miha into the reverse back triangle position (pictured above)
During the transition, Keenan keeps a tight grip with his right hand on Miha’s collar, to ensure the back control is secure as he moves.
At no point does Keenan lose control of the back while attacking the armbar: the key behind the effectiveness of this approach.
Once the arm is isolated, Keenan locks his figure four placing his left foot at Miha’s hip.
If your opponent attempts to connect their hands, the figure four will stop them in their tracks.
The beauty of this position lies in its effective ability to isolate the arm you want to attack, without giving up control and…
WITHOUT you having to swing your leg over your opponent’s head.
“Why is swinging my leg over my opponent’s head a bad thing? I thought all armbars needed one of my legs over my opponent’s face to stop them from sitting up.”
That’s a good question, and, yes, while it is generally a good idea to control your opponent’s head to finish the armbar, the moment you move your leg out of position to swing it over their head is the exact opportunity they need to escape…
… and the truth is, most will be waiting for you to do it.
But, by keeping your leg locked in a figure four, you can keep your opponent’s arm isolated while securing their head with the triangle lock,
Without giving your opponent any hope of getting the space they need.
Not to mention you get to threaten your opponent with a slick triangle lock as well.
Something to keep their mind busy while you’re attacking the arm.
Finishing The Armbar
Now it’s time for glory…
All you need to do to finish the armbar now is to control the wrist and pull it to your chest.
And there you have it.
The armbar from the back can be a very effective submission for your game, as long as you focus on control as its foundation.
There’s no need to give up the back to attack an armbar…
You can have the best of both worlds!
For the full breakdown of this technique, simply press play on the video below.