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Artechoke in a Can: Arm Drag Introduction

Last week, we began our module on back control. Now, we begin to explore paths and avenues for taking the back with an introduction to a basic arm drag.

To me, the arm drag is a concept, a principle. Working with the arm drag teaches you to look for the back anytime your opponent’s arm is crossing diagonally across your body. If his arm is in this position, you have an opportunity to take his back. While this may seem somewhat obvious to see and to read, distilling the back take to this extremely basic form will help you to troubleshoot your back takes and to explore new opportunities to transition to the back. As we explore basic arm drags in this lesson, we will come back to this idea again and again.

In the first video, I illustrate this concept with a demonstration of a standing arm drag. Almost everything in these videos I learned from working on Marcelo Garcia’s Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques and has changed my game dramatically. The arm drag is a bit of an obsession for me, so forgive me if I get longwinded in the videos. That said, pay particular attention to my footwork. The arm drag is most successful when you move yourself instead of moving your opponent.

In the next video, we look at how to counter the wrist grab with an arm drag (a very useful attack) and then jump from the back bodylock to back control while our opponent is standing. If you’re a bigger guy, you could transition to a high crotch single, a supplex, or some form of lateral drop. You have a lot of options when you’re in the back bodylock, and we didn’t have enough time to thoroughly cover them all.

Next, we started to look at using the arm drag from the butt scoot position. Again, moving yourself is key, and having that mobility stems directly from your butt scoot posture. At the end of this video, note how I swing my leg to get the momentum to come up into the seatbelt position while my partner is turtled.

To finish the lesson, we discussed some more details of posture and talked about why I prefer to fight for the second hook with my opponent on his side versus turtled. Again, most of the material is shamelessly taken from Marcelo. Note: this video reveals a secret Pittsburgh technique called the “Southside.”

Next week, we will continue exploring the potential of the arm drag.

Artechoke in a Can is the online version of Marshal D. Carper’s weekly no-gi class. Marshal is a purple belt under Sonny Achille at Steel City Martial Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he is the author of The Cauliflower Chronicles and Marcelo Garcia’s Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Techniques.

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