- Be a better grappler. This means you must know more than he knows, catch and hold him in positions that are difficult to escape from, force him to make mistakes and capitalize on those mistakes. To make all this happen, keep training. There’s no easy or fast way to jump to this level.
- Tire him out. Even when someone knows the attack you’re attempting, being tired or weary can make it hard for him to fend you off. You can facilitate his fatigue by fine-tuning your fitness level — so he gets tired before you do — and by being smart about how you expend your energy, resting in good positions and holding him in positions that tire him out. Again, there’s no easy way to make this happen.
- Use sneaky setups. This strategy is one you can learn and practice right now, and it will have an immediate effect on your grappling game. That’s because your opponent can’t be prepared to foil your attack if he doesn’t see it coming.
BJJ Technique No. 1: Armbar From the GuardBJJ Technique Source — Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Rigan Machado of Redondo Beach, California BJJ Technique Analysis — This Rigan Machado technique starts with a basic observation: When your opponent is in your guard and your legs are locked around his body — in what’s referred to as the closed guard — he’s probably well aware of the danger to his limbs. Therefore, he strives to keep them bent while holding your hips down to ensure that you can’t rise up and catch him in an armbar. But when you fight with your legs open or with your feet under his thighs — in the butterfly guard or two-hooks-in guard — he’s much less concerned about defending his arms and much more concerned about being swept.
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Therefore, for this Rigan Machado move, start the armbar-from-the-guard technique by sitting on the mat with your adversary sitting on your feet in the butterfly guard. Extend your left arm under his right arm and around his waste. Control his left hand with your right. Lean back and onto your right side, then lift your left foot to upend him and roll him to your right.
BJJ Technique No. 2: Armbar From the Side-Control PositionBJJ Technique Source — Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor John B. Will of Melbourne, Australia BJJ Technique Analysis — To execute this John B. Will technique, begin in side control with your body on your opponent’s left side. He’s properly defending his arms by keeping them bent and close to his chest, between your body and his. Place your left knee on the ground near his hip. The action will free your left hand so you can slip that wrist under his left wrist. As an added distraction (or real attack), move your right forearm across his throat and threaten him with a collar choke. At this point, he’s completely unaware of any armbar danger.
BJJ Technique No. 3: Armbar From the Back (No. 1)BJJ Technique Source — Brazilian jiu-jitsu master Jean Jacques Machado of Tarzana, California BJJ Technique Analysis — Begin this Jean Jacques Machado move in the back-control position with your legs around your foe’s hips while you and he are seated on the mat. Reach around his neck with your right hand and attempt a vigorous choke. Use your left hand, which you’ve extended under his left arm, to control his left wrist. As you fight for the choke with your right hand, begin leaning back and to your left. Move your feet to your opponent’s right side, then fall farther to your left as you bring your left leg high across his torso. Move your right hand to the left side of his head and push him away and down as you shift your right leg over his head for the armbar.
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BJJ Technique No. 4: Armbar From the Back (No. 2)BJJ Technique Source — Rigan Machado BJJ Technique Analysis — Begin this Rigan Machado move by taking your opponent’s back while he’s on his elbows and knees. Move your left hand across the back of his head and, coming from the top of his right shoulder, place it around and under his right arm. Reposition your left foot until your shin presses against the back of his neck and simultaneously move your right foot across his stomach. Push down with your left shin while grabbing his right pant leg with your right hand. Use your right hand to pull his foot widely over your head, lifting with your right leg to flip him. As he falls onto his back, keep hold of his pant leg to prevent him from rising to his knees in your guard. Move your left leg over his face to complete the armbar.
BJJ Technique No. 5: Armbar While Passing the GuardBJJ Technique Source — Rigan Machado BJJ Technique Analysis — This Rigan Machado sequence begins on your feet in your opponent’s open guard. He’s sitting up and using his left hand to control your right sleeve. Pinch your knees together to limit the amount his feet (his “hooks”) can move you. Bend your right leg to the left to free your left leg, then reposition your left leg alongside your right as you begin to move around his guard to your right. He’ll turn to his left side to improve his guard defense, and when he does, drop flat to pin his legs together. Use your right hand to grasp his left sleeve and your left hand to hold his left pant leg.
About the Author: David Meyer is a freelance writer and martial arts instructor with more than 40 years of experience. He spent more than two decades under the tutelage of small-circle jujitsu founder Wally Jay and 14 years with the Machado brothers. His acclaimed book, Training for Competition: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Submission Grappling, includes insights from legends such as the aforementioned Wally Jay as well as Bas Rutten, Cesar Gracie and Gene LeBell.
For More BJJ Technique Information by David Meyer, Jean Jacques Machado, Rigan Machado and John B. Will: