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In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, among all submission techniques, arm locks are known to be the most dangerous ones, as they cause the most harm to the opponents if they are unable to break them or if they do not tap out in time.
There are multiple types of arm locks that BJJ fighters use during their training and competitions to make opponents tap out and win their fights. These arm locks not only help in winning BJJ competitions but are also quite useful for dealing with self-defense situations.
Though the armbar is known to be one of the basic moves in grappling sports such as BJJ and Judo, it is also a deadly one. This armlock can result in dislocation of the elbow or broken arm in the case of failure to tap out timely.
In an armbar, you get hold of your opponent’s arm and extend their legs across their chest to gain leverage. Then, the thigh or hip is used on the elbow for the purpose of hyperextending the joint and completing the hold. In the following video, you can learn about the perfect and easy execution of the armbar.
There are multiple variations in this arm lock as you can use it from various positions. Armbar from the guard, speed armbar from guard, armbar from mount, knee on belly armbar, and armbar from spider guard are a few examples of it.
2. Reverse Armbar
The reverse armbar is one of the trickiest submissions in BJJ that you can use to make your opponents cry and tap out if placed accurately. This is one of the fundamental techniques that a lot of fighters utilize to win their battles in top BJJ and MMA competitions.
An armbar is generally painful, but when it comes to making use of its reversal, it becomes a more deadly and dangerous move. The reverse armbar works in the opposite direction of the traditional armbar, which makes it tricky. In this variation of the armbar, you attack your opponent’s elbow from a different angle in comparison to the traditional armbar.
You can take advantage of this arm lock in certain situations, like transitioning to other positions or getting certain cool sweeps. You can go for this armlock from numerous positions, including butterfly guard and closed guard.
3. Flying Armbar
The flying armbar is one of the most beautiful yet deadly variations of the armbar that is equally useful in BJJ, Judo, and MMA. This is not any basic move that will surprise your opponents, but it is quick and effective to force them to tap out to protect their arms from injuries.
One of the most famous things about this variation of the armbar is that it is done from the standing position and can cause severe damage to the opponent’s arm if executed properly, but they do not tap out.
This armlock starts with getting a perfect grip. Therefore, to perform it properly, you have to win the grip battle to create openings. The thumb rule for this arm lock is that you should have some form of arm and head control before jumping on to your opponent to execute a flying armbar.
To isolate the head, using some form of collar tie or collar grip is essential. After isolating the head, you have to go for arm control by applying different grips, such as overhook. The main purpose of such techniques is to make sure that you stay safe while jumping on your opponent. Your grip will act as a glue, keeping you attached to their body while you execute the attack.
The aspect that makes it very dangerous is jumping on the opponent, which poses risks of injuries for both attacker and the defender. However, if you land appropriately and place a sweep in the right position, you have a higher chance of making a successful submission to win the fight.
4. Helicopter Armbar
If you are in search of the craziest type of arm lock in BJJ, then the helicopter armbar is what you are looking for. This armbar variation is a setup from the bottom and can be performed from most of the guard positions, closed or open. The objective of this technique is to make opponents act like the blade of a helicopter.
This armlock has the ability to change the dynamics of button and top conditions. By using this armbar variation, you actually make gravity work for you and against your opponent, despite being at the bottom position.
Starting from a closed guard setup, keep your arm high on your chest and have a strong grip on either the forearm or the sleeve of your opponent. While executing, your other arm will hold the opposite sleeve side or the collar. As soon as your opponent stands up for a standing opening, you will have to open your guard and place your feet on the opponent's hips. With a lift, you will be doing the most critical part of this arm bar. After that, extend your legs and have your opponent balance on them. .
Here is a point to keep in mind: never ever try to push with your feet, but keep them placed on your opponent’s hips, and pull your opponent towards yourself before you go lifting upwards directly. If you are able to place this armlock in the right way, the result will surely go in your favor.
Omoplata is another basic yet incredibly effective arm lock technique that proves to be a successful submission if done properly. This was one of the most underrated techniques, but over time it has been revolutionized in modern BJJ.
The working mechanism of this technique is quite simple and straightforward as it is about weight placement and control gain. As soon as you isolate your opponent’s arm and get control over them, this is the time you start distributing your weight by leaning into your opponent and putting downward pressure on their shoulder to force them to tap out or defend.
If you are competing in No-Gi BJJ, this armlock is simple to execute. However, in Gi BJJ, you need to make use of the gi to gain control. For that, take the sleeve grip on the same side of your opponent with one hand while gripping the collar with the other. Using a gripped sleeve, you can pull your opponent down by hooking their arm around your hip while you kick your leg just like it is done in no-gi BJJ. Now you have to turn your hips 180 degrees while facing the same way as your opponent does and control their hips. In Gi, you can take advantage of their pants and belt to hold them in place, or you can do so by just hugging their hips.
The omoplata armlock can be executed from various positions, including side control, from mount, rubber guard, and lasso guard.
6. The Kimura
You may rank kimura as the most simple yet brutal move that is used in BJJ. This is neither the flashiest technique nor the most complicated, but it has all the ability to make opponents tap out or suffer from pain. At Pride 10, Kazushi Sakuraba exhibited the deadliness of this move by breaking the arm of Renzo Gracie using this submission.
The aspect that by using this technique you attack your opponent's elbow and shoulder makes kimura quite lethal. Many grapplers use this lock from the side control position for a classic submission. However, to get the best results, it is vital to execute it accurately.
There are some things to consider while placing this armlock to get the best results with this submission technique. First of all, you should be mindful about your weight placement. You should be keeping your weight centered on the top of your opponent’s body, so you should not get swept.
Once you are sure that your weight is distributed correctly, go for wrist control but on the far arm of the opponent. After that, take your controlling arm under and try to grab your wrist and connect your hands together.
From here, you have two choices to finish this armlock. The first is to pull your opponent onto their side and bring their arm behind their back. But against tough opponents, this trick might not work well.
So, to deal with tougher opponents, you can go for the other option, which is to pull them up and step over their heads to get better control. To finish the move in the most explosive way, bring your opponent’s elbow to your chest and then go back to cranking their arm toward their back.
This armlock can be placed from various positions such as mount, standing, half guard, and side control to make opponents submit themselves in the least amount of time.
As we know, arm locks are a key technique when it comes to submitting opponents and making them tap out as soon as possible. Armlocks are considered basic moves, but they can be deadly enough to make people injured in no time. Such dangerous arm locks are listed above, which can help you understand how to make your submissions successful by applying these armlocks to make opponents tap out instantly; otherwise, their shoulders will be damaged. If in some way, you get stuck in any of these armlocks, do not take a long time to tap out if you are unable to escape.