The Armbar Guide: 28 Ways To Armbar Someone In BJJ

By November 12, 2022November 23rd, 2023No Comments

Here’s 28 different ways to do the armbar!

The armbar is a versatile technique in BJJ which truly demonstrates how leverage and mechanical advantage can be used to dominate a bigger, stronger opponent.

armbar from guard, armbar cover image

Let’s start with the most classic variation of the armbar. The armbar from closed guard.

Classic Armbar From Closed Guard.  Although the classic closed guard armbar may not be the most high percentage submission, there’s still an enormous amount that can be learned from practicing this techniques.  Concepts such as killing your partner’s posture; as well as, winning an advantageous angle is critical to not only this technique; but, to most techniques in Jiu Jitsu

The High Closed Guard Armbar.  This is my favourite way to execute the armbar from the closed guard.  Your first objective is to win a high closed guard position.  Once you have the high closed guard, you’re well on your way to winning either a submission or a sweep.

The Instant Armbar From Closed Guard.  Your skilled partner will always maintain proper distance with their arm framing against your torso; but, sometimes, they forget to check your hip.  If your hip is still mobile; then, quickly lift your hips up for an instant armbar.

The Bellydown Overhook Armbar From Closed Guard.  If you’re able to break your partner’s posture down and bring their hand down to the floor, you can now get an overhook control on their one arm.  Once their arm is controlled, you want to create a winning angle by shrimping away, bringing your hip up to the ceiling; and finishing the armbar with your belly facing the floor.

The Overhook Armbar From Closed Guard.  The overtook armbar is a fantastic way to capitalize on the moment your partner places one of their hands on the ground.  A key component to the overhook armbar is to win an advantageous angle against your partner.  Once you’re perpendicular to your partner, you can now look to sweep your partner over to finish the submission.

The Failed Backtake Armbar From Closed Guard.  Taking the back from the closed guard is an often neglected technique.  Of course, no singular technique works all the time; so, if the back take fails; no problem, transition to a belly down armbar.

The 2 On 1 Spider Guard Armbar. The spider guard is one of the best ways to control your partner’s upper body from your guard.  With your foot on your partner’s bicep and your other foot on your partner’s hip, look to do a foot on bicep sweep to initially destabilize your partner; then, transition directly to the armbar as your partner fights against the sweep.

The 2 On 1 Armbar From Butterfly Guard.  When you’re fighting from your butterfly guard, maintaining a 2 on 1 control on your partner is one of the best ways to initiate your attacks.  Pull your hips in as you’re attempting your butterfly guard sweep; now, as your partner defends the sweep, pull your knees into your chest; and then, snap your legs up for the armbar.

The Pressing Armbar From Butterfly Guard.  Timing is the key to making this technique work.  You need fake the sweep to make your partner put their hand on the ground.  As your partner is bracing against your sweep you’re already capturing their shoulder.  Keep rotating their shoulder and keep rotating your hips so you can apply a pressing armbar on your partner.

The Pressing Armbar From Half Guard.  This is a great way to learn the pressing armbar.  From your half guard, be sure to always keep your forearms up to brace yourself against your partner’s weight. You’re looking to attack your partner’s arm that’s reaching for your neck.  Hook their shoulder and rotate your hips out so you can apply pressure to their arm.

The Belly Down Armbar From Half Guard.  From your half guard, frame on your partner’s torso with your right knee as you bring your left knee against their neck.  Keep control of their arm as you circle your left foot over their shoulder.

The Overhook Armbar From Half Guard.  The fight from half guard is the fight from an underhook; however, there’s a highly effective armbar when you have an overhook.  Move away from your partner’s head so you can invert and bring your knee over their neck so you can finish your belly down armbar.

The Bottom Cross Side Instant Armbar.  Bottom cross side is a perilous position; however, the moment you can escape, you can an immediate armbar attack as you re-guard.

Top Cross Side Instant Armbar.  A fast and sudden attack when your partner tries to bench press you off from top cross side is the instant armbar.

The Overhook Armbar From Top Cross Side.  When you’re in top cross side, standard procedure dictates that you clear your partner’s arm so that you have direct control of their neck and torso.  Of course, this also opens up opportunities to attack your partner’s arms.  One of my favourite attacks from top cross side is the overhook armbar.

The Cross Hip Armbar.  Here’s a fast, sneaky armbar from top cross side when your partner has their arm diagonally placed against your hip.

The Pressing Armbar From Top Cross Side. A smart move from top cross side is to initially attack with an americana.  Most people will defend the americana and fall directly into a more high percentage attack like the pressing armbar.

The 180 Armbar From Top Cross Side.  When you’re in top cross side and you’re controlling your partner with an underhook, you can immediately transition into a 180 armbar.  A key tip is to move your left foot like a J in order to land in the perfect position to finish the armbar.

Figure 4 Armbar From Top Cross Side.  Facing the legs is an unconventional way to maintain top cross side; but, doing so opens up a series of unsuspecting attacks; one of which, is the figure 4 armbar. A focal point for this technique is to control your partner’s upper arm as tightly as possible.

Knee On Belly Armbar.  Knee on belly is one of the most versatile and dominant control positions in BJJ.  Just the nature of the position can elicit an immediate armbar attack.  A common reaction from your partner is to bench press you; thus, opening up the perfect opportunity to hit an armbar.

180 Armbar From Knee On Belly. While maintaining the knee on belly position, your partner may try and push your knee off their torso; as this happens, control their elbow and spin around to the far side for an instant armbar.

Classic Armbar From Mount.  The classic armbar from mount is a way to introduce the armbar to absolute beginners.  The classic armbar has 6 steps.

  1. Control the elbow
  2. Knee to their neck
  3. S Sit
  4. Switch the arms and control the legs
  5. Your leg over their head
  6. Sit back to finish the armbar

Functional Armbar From Mount.  This is how you would armbar a skilled, athletic opponent who absolutely does not want to tap.  The most difficult part of hitting the armbar is the 1st part – controlling the elbow; so, in the functional armbar from mount, we focus on isolating both of our partner’s arms.

Belly Down Armbar From Mount.  This is a variation of the classic armbar from mount.  Instead of falling back to finish the armbar, we now fall forward; thus, making an escape highly improbable by your partner.

Armbar From The Back.  Starting with the gift wrap from the back positioning, you can now transition into an armbar by using a strong kimura control.

Figure 4 Armbar From Turtle.  One of the sneakiest armbars you can do.  When someone has you in turtle, look to control one of their arms.  The focal point is to control their upper arm as tightly as possible; doing this, keeps you safe from your partner winning back control on you; plus, it’s the critical feature in hitting the figure 4 armbar.

Deadlift Armbar From Top Turtle.  Top turtle is a dominant position in BJJ; but, your partner can also be highly defensive in this position; thus, disallowing you from launching conventional attacks; so, the alternative is to go for an unconventional submission.  Control your partner’s right wrist with both your hands and deadlift up to flip your partner directly into an armbar.

Flying Armbar.  Although this looks like a highly athletic technique; the truth of the matter is, you can do the flying armbar on anyone with strong resistant position from a standing position.

Ritchie Yip

Ritchie Yip

Ritchie Yip is the Head Instructor for InFighting Training Centers located in Downtown Vancouver and Brentwood Burnaby. InFighting Training Centers offers programs in Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bootcamp Conditioning Classes and Personal Training

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Ritchie Yip

Ritchie Yip is a life long martial artist, BJJ Black Belt, and the head instructor of the InFighting Martial Arts Gym in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.

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