BJJ Tips: Applying Armlocks and Teaching Gracie Jiujitsu

For a long time, I have been in love with Gracie jiujitsu and over the past 11 years, I have taught hundreds if not thousands of hours of group and private lessons and on a few occasions whole seminars*.
Showing the details of the armbar from guard

My first seminar at Forca Martial Arts.

My Charity Seminar at Stockport Gracie.

Happy seminar participants

I have been very lucky that the academies where I have trained and the instructors who helped mold me have trusted in my ability to communicate the details of jiujitsu to their students.

Martyn teaching at the earliest rendition of Fighting Fit

Teaching the Fundamentals Class at Fighting Fit 2.0

Seeking the infinite knowledge of the Champion
Mr David Onuma at his home dojo

I have sought the advice on both the technical side of jiujitsu and the art of communicating and teaching it from my heroes both within and outside the Gracie family.

With my teacher Eddie Kone and his teacher Master Royler Gracie

Learning guard retention from the Man, Master Rickson Gracie

Learning about class structure from the Legend Royce Gracie
Recently I was once again blessed with a fantastic opportunity. My instructor, Royler Gracie Black Belt and head of the EKBJJ team, Mr Eddie Kone, was away teaching jiujitsu in Dubai for a week and I was in charge of teaching the Gracie Jiujitsu curriculum at his academy.

Eddie had left clear instructions on what he wanted me to teach: The standing arm lock as taught at the Gracie Academy.

The great thing was, he teaches the curriculum with all the underlying concepts of weight distribution, punch protection and the realities / legalities of self defence so I had lots to draw on.

With that said, once the students had formed a solid understanding of what the standing arm lock is, what indicators it is meant to answer and what the make-it-or-break-it details are, it was time to take the same concept and generalise it. It was time to take the same control to the ground.

On the first day, we looked at applications of the Ude Hishigi Waki gatame from the top position, specifically from the half guard top when the opponent tries to prevent the underhook and stays tight with their elbows

On the second day, while still starting with the fundamental technique, we then advanced to the applications from the bottom position, taking advantage of them reaching to punch or, as demonstrated by Marcelo Garcia above, to control our lapel with the intention to pass. The techniques that flowed out of that started with straight armlocks...

But soon evolved into omoplata attacks and even figure-4 toe holds

Here's a sample taster of how you can implement the principles of the waki gatame into your ground game from the bottom:

It all reminded me of something John Will once shared at one of his seminars:

John B Will, one of the Dirty Dozen of BJJ,
sharing his thoughts on lesson delivery

There are levels to understanding and applying techniques:
1. Learning and performing the technique itself
2. Taking the concepts learnt from that technique and applying them to other similar, or dissimilar scenarios in jiujitsu
3. Taking the concepts learnt from the technique and applying them to our lives. Letting jiujitsu enrich every aspect of our day-to-day lives

I don't just want to learn jiujitsu. I want to live it.

Thank you to all my teachers for giving me these opportunities to improve myself though the art of jiujitsu and the art of teaching.

*I will be teaching a seminar at Gracie Stockport 10am-12noon on the 15th November, if anyone has a chance to come by. Details are at the link below:


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