Submission Profile - The Armbar
We here at Just the Tap are all about submissions. Over the years we have become acquainted with a great number of submissions in the grappling world, both on the mats and off (mainly on the mats, like 95%), and from time to time, we catch up with them and see what they have been up to lately.
In an effort to help get the grappling world better acquainted with some of these submissions, we have decided to publish these conversations in a segment called ‘Interview with a submission’ where we will provide periodic submission profiles as well as transcripts from our “interviews”. First up, an all time classic – the arm bar.
Submission Profile: The Arm Bar
Other Names: Juji-gatame, armlock
Historical/Significant Applications in Competition:
Probably one of the most iconic applications of the arm bar in BJJ competition never even resulted in a submission. Roger Gracie locked in a TIGHT arm bar from bottom position during the 2004 Mundials against Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza. The lock would ultimately break Jacare's arm but he refused to tap and ended up coming back to win the match.
Relevance in Modern Game
Arm Bars were thought to have gone somewhat out of vogue on the competitive scene recently with the declining popularity (or effectiveness) of the closed guard in high level competition, and the rise of the leg lock meta over the past several years. However, Xande Ribiero was able to pull off a beautiful arm bar submission at the highest level of submission grappling at ADCC 2017 against Rustam Chsiev, which was a refreshing blast from the past from an all time great. BJJ Scout does a great (as usual) video breakdown of the submission here.
The arm bar is interestingly a very common submission in MMA, despite it being somewhat of a rarity in the higher levels of BJJ or Submission Grappling, you can usually expect at least 1 arm bar submission to pop up on a major MMA promotion fight night.
Additionally with the advent of the EBI ruleset, and the spiderweb position being one of the overtime starting points, we have seen some pretty gnarly arm bar action recently; Gordon Ryan vs Craig Jones at EBI 14 rings a bell.
Beautiful example in MMA from Demetrious Johnson at UFC 216:
Being such a ubiquitous submission; there aren’t really any arm bar specialists that come to mind in competitive grappling; Rafa Mendes is known for having excellent arm bars, but he is also known for having excellent everything. Ronda Rousey is an athlete that comes to mind when thinking of somebody who used the arm bar successfully many times at the highest level of her sport.
Interview with a Submission:
JTT: Who would play you in a movie and why?
AB: Armie Hammer. No question. Probably something to due with his classical, clean cut good looks. Maybe his name, idk, it's very powerful...something about it
JTT: Where do you see yourself in 5 years
AB: You know, at this point I'm just going to go wherever the wind takes me. I have been fortunate enough in my career to accomplish great things at the highest levels of the sport. I would really like to be able to help bring along some of the newer/younger guys. You know, you see the heelhook out there as the "next big thing" or whatever and he is really ruffling a lot of feathers, I'd like to be able to maybe work with some of those guys and show them what it takes to really have longevity in this game.
JTT: What has been the most thrilling experience of your career?
AB: Oh man thats a tough question; there have just been so many highs. I think working with Roger at the 20004 Mundials probably stands out. Obviously it's bittersweet because we didn't get the result we wanted, I mean we were so close! But hey, Jacare is a warriror man, I have worked with him in the past as well. But yeah I would say that collaboration with Roger was the most thrilling; 2 of the GOATs going at it in their prime, what more could you ask for?
JTT: What don’t we know about you that you would like us to know?
AB: I'm a pretty open book; I feel like most people have known me or known a lot about me for a long time. Like I said, I've been here for a while.
JTT: What advice do you have for the white belts of the world?
AB: Focus on the basics people! Don't go chasing that flashy junk if you can't nail down what works.
JTT: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us today, tell all of our followers where they can find you.
AB: Hey guys thanks for having me out, this was great. Um, you can find me in most beginner classes, definitely at an MMA show, and online on worldstar.