This is the foreword, I wrote for Steve Scott's upcoming book, The Juji Gatame Encyclopedia
When I was young, two-time Olympian Pat Burris gave me this advice,
“Always go for the arm bar, because even if the referee doesn’t give you the win and makes you stand up again, for the rest of the match, you’re fighting an opponent with one working arm. And, Annie, if you can’t beat a one-armed opponent, you really suck.”
(Just so you know, you have to be in two Olympics and older than me to call me “Annie”. Don’t even think about it.)
I took Pat’s advice to heart, as anyone knows who saw me on TV winning the Panamerican Games. The referees did not stop the match and made us get back to standing. Just as Pat predicted, my opponent was hampered by an injured arm and I won the match.
Enough about me (and Pat), what about Steve’s book? It is pure and simple everything you need to know about arm bars. The section on exercises specifically designed to build muscles used in arm locks is just brilliant. Not only is it a good, safe way to teach beginners some skills, it’s also good for any athlete who was ever injured - and all top athletes are injured at some point - to have something they can do to build strength when they are not cleared for grappling.
My favorite part of the book, though, is the drills. To get good at arm locks you need to do tens of thousands of repetitions. Think about it for a moment, when you are trying a move that has the potential to dislocate an opponent’s arm, you are fighting a motivated individual. Often, there is just one second to catch that arm and to be able to capitalize on that one second you need to have drilled and drilled so it is almost an instinctive reflex. Let’s be honest, though, repetitions can get boring and no amount of a coach yelling, “No pain, no gain” at you can change that fact. Having a huge variety of drills and exercises allows athletes to train from different angles, at different speeds and for different situations.
Anyone reading this book will benefit from the photos showing the techniques from every angle. If you don’t learn how to do a better arm bar from this, you’re beyond hope.