BJJ / Grappling Tips: Leverage Secrets of the Americana

Yesterday I asked on Facebook: Americana from mount: one elbow next to their neck, where should ur other elbow be & why?

The answers people posted were all in the right general area. What I was going for was the best placement from a leverage point of view. BJJ is all about using leverage to beat strength and as I've mentioned in previous posts, two things make a good lever:
  1. Placing the fulcrum (centre of rotation) near the object you are trying to move
  2. Having a long lever arm
In the case of the americana bent arm lock, the second elbow would be best placed far from their shoulder and near to their elbow.

More leverage

Less leverage
The difference may not look like much, but once you try it, you're partner will feel how much tighter and quicker the submission goes on.

The best part is that these small technical details can, and should, be applied to every defensive and offensive technique in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to make it more efficient. Ah, the beauty of this art.



Georgette said...

Thanks for articulating this so clearly-- lately it's been a topic of discussion for me as people often try to submit by raising the victim's elbow up in the air (which I find to be fairly inefficient.)

For me the fastest submission comes from sucking the "bottom" (closest to feet) elbow into their ribs as tightly as possible (which is consistent with your prescription of lower and closer to the elbow). Then instead of lifting the victim's elbow, or even dragging the back of their hand down the mat (aka "paintbrushing") I find it effective to roll both my knuckles forward as if I were letting off the gas on a motorcycle.

Anonymous said...

thank you thank you

The Part Time Grappler said...

@Shakia pleasure is all mine and thank YOU for taking the time to read my ramblings :)

It appears you really enjoyed this little nugget. If you are struggling or even just wondering about a certain position, please drop me a line thru the blog and it will most likeyly inspire a future discussion, post or even video :)

Speak soon

The Part Time Grappler said...

@Georgette. I don't think I've ever seen them being referred to as "the victim" but it does sound awesome :)

I totally agree with everything you wrote. You will often hear me shouting "motorcycle grip! MOTORCYCLE GRIP!" from the side of the mat. Unfortunately, no one at our club has a motorbike so they just kinda look at me with a "Quoi? Les motos?!"

There are other things I do such as putting my opposite hook in with my foot and support the wrist with my forehead but I thought I'd focus on the elbow position :)

Georgette said...

Yes, the opposite hook in is a good one! One of our blackbelts emphasizes looking towards the feet on that side, as well.

The Part Time Grappler said...

@Georgette, very nice. I bet that causes you to stay low with your head and also use your core to put the lock on instead of just arm muscles.