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Arm Bar From Guard (Using Your Legs Properly)

When students first learn the Arm Bar From Guard, the trouble they have the most with is using their legs properly while executing the technique. This video will show you how to use both legs properly in order to get the correct angle to apply the arm bar, as well as how to use your legs to maintain and finish the arm bar.


“All right. Hi guys. This is Randall. This is Greg. We’re with KravMagaTraining.com. In this video we’re going to discuss the arm bar from guard. And specifically, I want to show you guys how to use your legs properly because I’ve found when students learn the arm bar for the first time, that’s the part that they neglect the most is not using their legs correctly. And if you learn to use your legs correctly, that’s what puts you in the proper position for the arm bar, as well as the proper position to finish.

All right. So here’s the first thing is we’re going to start with about on how you use your foot properly on the hip. So Greg if I can borrow you. Let’s come on this side please.

Okay. So here’s the first thing is, I’m not going to get into how to set up the arm bar with how you use your hands and all the setups. That’s a big topic in itself. Maybe I’ll cover that in another video. But like I said, I just want to focus on the leg position. So regardless of what grip you use. Two on ones, this ‘X’ grip, arm drags, overhooks, whatever. It doesn’t matter.

But anyways. I get into the position that I like to use and the first thing is this foot here, I want to put that foot on the hip flexor like this. And if you want a little extra security in locking this arm into place, what you can do is you can push on this hip, lift your hips off the ground and then squeeze your knee into the back of the shoulder here. When you do that on the back of the shoulder it locks their arm into place so it’s going to be harder for Greg to pull the arm out.

Now the main purpose of this foot though is to push on this to help you rotate your torso so that you’re more perpendicular to the person. So basically I want to be able to see in his ear hole. So notice when I push with this foot, that’s what helps me get at this angle.

The other leg also has an important purpose and that is this leg needs to hike up high on the back of the shoulder and it’s going to drive down on the upper back as high as possible. And I also push with this. Push, pushing almost with my hamstring on his ribs to help me rotate.

So between this foot and this leg, this gives me the correct angle for the arm bar. Let’s go ahead and switch sides. Okay. So from a different angle. Got the foot over here on the hip. Knee on the back of the shoulder. Now watch how this leg really comes in handy. Especially if you’re using a quick setup arm bar, a lot of times you don’t even need this foot on the hip over here. I think this leg is just as important, if not more important. Watch how I do this. Drive in this direction. And that’s what helps me spin over here until I can see in his ear hole. So those are the two things that you do with your legs to get the correct angle for the arm bar.

Now once I have this angle, the next thing that becomes really important is when you swing this leg over the back of the knee must be flush on the side of their neck. And a lot of times beginners will have too much space between the back of the knee and the neck. Which is no good. I want this right next to him like this, and then very important, I want to take my heel and I want to drive it straight down to the ground. Like I’m doing a hamstring curl. Let’s come over this side Greg. So watch right here. Swing it around. No space between the back of my knee and his neck. And watch how I bite down with my heel. When I do this, this controls his posture. If he can’t lift his head up it’s going to be much more difficult for him to get out of the arm bar. So notice this tight pressure like this. It’s not straight out like this, which is a common beginner mistake. I’m not kicking. I’m driving my own heel down into my butt and that’s tightening him up.

The other thing is my other leg does the same thing. Go up high on the upper back. Drive the heel down. When you do those two things with your legs and you feel your hamstrings contracting a little bit, this is what controls their posture and it makes it hard for them to get out of the arm bar.

Now the next thing that’s really important that people neglect is the knees. They need to pinch together like this. Do you mind if we come over here? So I get to this spot right here. Watch how these knees do this. Most people have their knees way too relaxed like this and the problem with this is now the bad guy can move their arm too much, and more importantly, they can pull the arm straight out and you’re going to lose the arm bar.

It’s not just a matter of me using my hands. Beginners tend to be to upper body focused. You need to use your entire body. In this case, your legs, notice how my knees squeeze together. So between my heels driving down, my knees squeezing together, I don’t even have to use my hands and his arm is locked into place pretty tight. All right. It’s not that he can’t get out of this but it’s going to be a little bit more difficult for him to do that. Try to pull your arm out Greg. All right. Are you actually trying to pull it out? ‘Yeah’. No, I mean really try. And that’s just using my legs. Now imagine if I maintain control with my arms as well. So if you do those things it should be, it’s not impossible, but it should be slightly difficult for your partner to pull their arm out.

So that’s a good drill that you can practice is get your partner in the correct position with your legs and then see if they can pull their arm out. Like I said, it’s not impossible but it should be slightly difficult for them. So that, in conjunction with pinning the hand down, it should be a lot more difficult for the bad guy to get out of this.

And then, finally, when you do this and you have your legs in the right spot, when you lift your hips up, your hip movement, your hip raise should be pretty small. I know my legs are in the right spot because look how I barely have to lift my hips up and he’s already tapping. If he doesn’t tap his arm is going to get hyperextended. Beginners, because their legs are way too loose and relaxed like this, you’ll see them doing this. Doing this huge hip raise and that’s usually an indicator that your legs aren’t in the right spot. So if the back of my knees are tight, my heels are driven down, my knees are pinched together, if I do all those things correctly that I know that when I raise my hips it barely has to move. He’s already tapping. So that’s the indicator that you are doing the technique correctly.

All right. So anyways. Those are all the little details with using the legs correctly. Both legs have a job to help you rotate so you get into the correct angle or perpendicular with your attacker. So you’re in the position to do the arm bar. And then finally, you need to do all those little details to make sure that you can maintain the arm bar. The knees pinching together. The heels driving down. Make sure there’s no space between the back of your knees and your partner. If you do all those things then your arm bar will become very effective, especially when you have to do it on a much larger and stronger opponent.

So remember beginners. It’s not just your upper body. It’s your entire body. So really focus on how you use your legs when you’re setting up your arm bars, as well as really any of your other ground fighting techniques.

All right. I hope those tips help. And, as always, thanks for watching guys.”

s Greg for helping with this video. Best of luck with relocating back to New Jersey. We will miss you!”