How To Prevent Getting Caught In An Armbar In Jiu Jitsu

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Jiu-jitsu is a popular martial arts form that is practiced all around the world. It requires both physical strength and mental agility. However, like any form of martial arts, it comes with its set of risks and injuries, which include armbar injuries. Getting caught in an armbar can be painful and can lead to long-term discomfort. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent getting caught in an armbar. In this article, we will outline some of the essential tips to avoid getting caught in an armbar when practicing jiu-jitsu.


Understand The Mechanics Of An Armbar

One of the best ways to avoid getting caught in an armbar is to know how they work. To be more specific, you need to understand how an opponent can use their legs to apply force and pressure to your arm, eventually causing injury to the elbow’s joint. In an armbar lock, your opponent will leverage your extended arm and apply pressure to the elbow with their lower body, causing it to bend unnaturally. To avoid an armbar, you need to prevent your opponent from connecting their legs to your arm.


Improve Your Guard

Another way to reduce the risk of getting caught in an armbar is by improving your guard. Your guard is crucial in jiu-jitsu because it helps you defend against attacks and maintain control over your opponent. By keeping your guard up and your arms tightly in place, you can prevent your opponent from getting a grip on your limbs. This can reduce the risk of getting caught in an armbar, as your opponent will find it challenging to isolate your arm.


Use Chokes And Submission Techniques

Jiu-jitsu is primarily a grappling sport that involves submitting your opponent. However, chokes and submission techniques can also be effective in preventing an armbar. For example, when grappling with an opponent, you may need to take a dominant position to apply pressure and control. By applying submissions and chokes, you can keep your opponent focused on protecting themselves rather than attacking you. This will reduce the chances of them getting into a position to attack your arms.


Improve Your Body Positioning

Maintaining proper body positioning is vital in jiu-jitsu. Your body posture should help you prevent your opponent from getting close enough to attack your limbs. By keeping your chest and hips close to your opponent, you can prevent them from using their legs to apply force to your arm. Adjust your position frequently by keeping your elbows close to your body and placing your feet on your opponent’s hips to keep them at a distance.


Identify Armbar Setups

Before you can prevent an armbar, you need to identify the setups that lead to it. Most armbar attacks begin with your opponent grabbing one of your arms and moving to a dominant position. Be aware of these setups and try to avoid them by changing positions quickly. By anticipating these moves, you can quickly adjust your position and avoid getting caught in an armbar.


Practice Proper Escapes

Even with all the preventive measures, you may still find yourself in a position where you are about to get caught in an armbar. In such a situation, your best defense is to escape the armbar. Practicing proper escapes is essential to avoid injury. Common armbar escapes include rolling out, stacking, and hitchhiking. Each of these moves requires practice and proper technique, so be sure to work with your instructor to master them.



In conclusion, preventing being caught in an armbar in Jiu Jitsu requires a combination of proactive measures and reactive techniques. It is crucial to maintain good posture and awareness during grappling exchanges, keeping the arms close to the body and the elbows tucked in to minimize vulnerability. Additionally, developing a solid defense and understanding the mechanics of an armbar is essential to recognizing and reacting to potential threats swiftly.

Prevention begins with maintaining a strong base and posture, utilizing proper positioning, and anticipating your opponent’s movements. This includes keeping your head up and back straight, which helps to defend against opponents attempting to control or isolate your arms. By staying active and dynamic in your movements, you can make it difficult for your opponent to secure a dominant position and set up an armbar.

Furthermore, understanding the mechanics of an armbar is key to preventing it. By recognizing the warning signs, such as when an opponent attempts to control your wrist or isolate your arm, you can react swiftly to defend against the submission. Techniques such as hand fighting, grip breaking, and preemptively framing against your opponent’s hips can provide crucial opportunities to escape or counter their attacks.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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