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FHM Explainer: The Armbar

Tap, dammit, tap
by Mikey Agulto | Feb 25, 2013
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UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey makes a bid for the awesomest Submission of the Year with another nasty armbar victory in the opening round, this time over Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 last Sunday, February 24. It's Ronda's seventh consecutive win by means of an armbar, a basic submission technique that brought her all this fame and attention as of late. A couple more victories using this move and she can have the armbar trademarked to her if she wishes.

So, do you wanna be the male Ronda Rousey? You're one submission move away from having that not-so-macho claim. Scroll down below to proceed!

                                                     Some girls win by armbar; Rousey wins by armputation


An armbar, more simply known as an arm lock, is a single or double joint lock that hyperextends or hyperrotates the elbow and shoulder joints. It is a grappling move that requires the effective use of full body leverage in order to initiate and secure a lock on the targeted arm, all while preventing your opponent from escaping.

While considered as one of the basic joint locks used as submission holds, said move can cause muscle, tendon, and ligament damage if executed with sheer force. Armbars can also cause dislocation and in the most severe cases, the breaking of the arm, which is why those who are on the receiving end of it are highly recommended to tap soon as they get caught with it.

As to why Ronda Rousey loves using them so much, it's probably because the armbar is an official Kodokan Judo technique dubbed as juji-gatame, and all 29 grappling techniques in Judo pretty much revolve around armlocks. Ronda, meanwhile, is a long-time Judo practitioner who won a Bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics—she is the only American woman to ever medal in judo at the Olympic-level. Her mom, Ann Maria Rousey, was a World Judo Champion in 1984, and Ronda claims that her mom used to wake her up every morning with an armbar. Hear that? Mother and daughter bonded with armbars.

It’s a lot easier to perform this move from a lying position, although there are a myriad of ways to execute an armbar, even when standing up. For beginners, here are three examples:

The straight armbar, for one, is an official Judo technique wherein the practitioner secures an arm at the wrist of the opponent and traps it by squeezing the knees together. The practitioner’s legs should end up across the victim’s chest with the thumb facing up, which indicates its semi-supinated position. From here on, the practitioner can easily extend the opponent’s arm and hyperextend his elbow in the process. For added pressure, you can also arch your hips against his elbow.

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