17th Jan2012

Armbars, Combat and the Tactical Athlete

by A.J.

A well executed armbar can quickly end a fight

A few years ago I wrote a concept brief for the Army Special Operations community with respect to a few basic Mixed Martial Arts techniques I thought every person who is called upon to fight in combat should know. I later penned a similar article and farmed it out on the internet under the pen name “Abel Cossas” (google it, somehow it ended up everywhere). In the concept brief I talked about how much training time it would take to make an operator proficient in 15 basic moves and how it could help them achieve objectives and I always wanted to revisit that list and teach those specific moves.

Here is the first of many (hopefully) installments on that idea to get the force informed on what I think we should all know. Now I understand that in a gun fight the last thing you want to be doing is rolling around on the floor trying to submit an opponent but, that not withstanding I feel that providing our operators with some basic fall back on skills can’t really hurt either. As a side note I believe that training in MMA also provides a mental edge to the military athlete that can help provide a holistic solution to the problem of creating military fitness both mental and physical.

The armbar is probably one of the most common submission techniques used it sport grappling and unlike a “flying triangle” it is relatively easy to execute. One aspect of the armbar that is note worthy is that unlike a choke when properly executed it does not completely incapacitate an opponent (this is a pro and a con).  I personally feel it takes about 500 repetitions to develop the neuromuscular pathways required to obtain a sense of mastery over the move and with some work you can put this new tool in your tool box in about a months time.

theory: The armbar is generally an attack against the elbow joint, that causes a hyperflexion of the joint using superior leverage, placing the bicep flexion of the recipient in opposition to the legs, lower back and glute muscles of the armbar deliverer to cause pain and dysfunction of the arm.

I have made a video of a basic Armbar from the mounted position. I would like to thank Judo Black Belt and American Olympic Judo Team member Ryan Reser for letting me use him as a training dummy. Be sure to leave a comment I try to reply to all of them.

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