Executing the Armbar Finish Position
The secret to finishing an armbar is applying constant pressure on the arm you are attacking, rather than bursts of pushing. Your partner will feel the mounting tension, which often has a psychological effect in that it can break his or her will to defend. Before you practice this technique on your less dominant side, make sure you are dangerous with your dominant side.
To finish a joint-lock submission, you need to break your partner’s grip. The two most common grips you will face are the “pocket” grip and the Kimura grip. The first is where you reach through into your “hip pocket” area with one hand, while arm-barring your partner’s opposite arm. The key to breaking this grip is to swim your other hand under so you can stay connected. This allows you to switch to the Kimura grip. From here, make sure that your heel points inward, and, as you extend to break your partner’s hips, squeeze your knees together, and fall in the direction of your partner’s feet.
If this fails, thread your right foot through your partner’s arms, under their gripping hands, and across to the other side of their head. If your partner’s head is lifted, use your left knee to drive it forward. Then, get that submission by closing the figure four.
Another option is the X-break. This is when you break the grip by keeping the right foot on front of your partner’s left biceps, with your instep facing their arms. From here, cross your left foot over the top and across their head, and flare both feet out. Finally, extend your legs forward, breaking the grip.
Throughout, you should cross your ankles and maintain the armbar finish position. However, to finish the armlock, you need to squeeze your knees together, thus uncrossing the ankles. To control the position, it is important to isolate the far arm. To prevent an escape, pull their far elbow in, and do not allow your partner to sneak his or her far forearm under your feet. Sometimes, your partner might come up on top, stack you, then escape. You can stop this, simply by flatting your back on the mat.
Without the maintenance aspect, you will never be able to execute the armbar finish position, regardless of how much you train. The control must come first. Rather than for the actual submission, pay attention to how they are trying to escape. In the words of Bruce Lee:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”