It’s getting into the position to do an arm bar that is the hard part, and takes up a good many pages on this blog and in our upcoming book. My friend, Steve Scott, has written two books JUST on arm lock, as well as The Tap Out Textbook and Gene Lebell has a ton in his Encyclopedia of Finishing Holds .
The actual physical activity of doing an arm lock is pretty simple. Here is one simple way to do a straight arm lock.
Step 1: You begin with your partner on his or her back. You have hooked the opponent’s arm and have it locked against your body. You have both your legs across the opponent’s body as shown. Usually, feeling in danger, your opponent is going to have gripped both hands together and be hanging on to that arm for dear life. Lock the opponent’s arm against your chest, holding it tight to your body. Rotate toward the opponent’s head to break the grip.
Step 2: Once you have the arm pulled free, rotate back to be pulling the arm straight out from the shoulder. (If you were good at geometry, you will remember that is forming a 90 degree angle with the body.)
Step 3: With the arm locked against your body, arch your hips to complaint the arm bar.
Let me pause here to rant and complain. I am ALWAYS hearing people correct judo players, grapplers, MMA fighters in how they do an arm bar.
Most of the corrections, though, I am skeptical. I always hear people say you need to pinch your knees together, don't cross your ankles, you always need to lock the arm against your body with both hands, grab the wrist instead of the gi , turn the arm so the little finger is pointing up (or down).
In many, many pictures where I, Ronda or someone else is doing an arm bar some black belt, instructor or just random person walking around will point out,
"That isn't right."In writing The Book, I've had many, many people take pictures of arm bars being done in practice, in competition and had almost as many comments from almost as many people on what is wrong with the technique.
All of those people are correct. I have heard the same things as them - your knees need to be pinched together, the arm should be locked against your body - I've even made some of those same comments.
Here's the thing - IN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE PICTURES SOMEONE WAS BEING ARM BARRED.
This has led me to conclude that if all of those people who are doing arm bars in practice and competition are doing them "the wrong way" maybe there isn't just one right way after all.