Arm Bar from Front Mount

Dominant Position

The four main positions in grappling are: front mount, rear mount, side mount, and closed guard. Today’s technique is performed from the most dominant position, front mount. By being on top of your opponent, you have a better view, increased leverage, and the benefit of gravity helping you.

In any ground fight, there are two positions you want to be in, either front mount, or more ideally, not on the ground anymore!


One of the keys to being able to perform an effective arm bar is a strong grip when you grab onto your opponents arm. Okinawans were famous for their gripping jars that they practiced with to develop a stronger grip. If you don’t have your own gripping jars, Dan suggested an easy way to make your own using old protein powder jars.

Other options to build your grip strength include doing pullups with a towel hung over the bar or pulling a thick rope tied to a heavy object.


In terms of safety with this technique, always be sure to go slow and give your partner a chance to tap out. One of the worst scenarios that can happen is that you are pulling on that arm while your partner struggles to fight the arm bar. They get tired and stop resisting, you pull as hard as you can and snap their arm at the elbow.

The best kind of partner is one that you can practice with a second time. Go slow and be safe!


The United States Air Force Academy and the United States Air Force do not endorse any of these videos or this site. I just happen to be in camo pants for this video because it was more convenient that day.

By KruczekKruczek on FacebookKruczek on Google+Kruczek on Twitter Visit author's website

Theodore Kruczek is the founder and head writer of the Okinawan Karate-do Institute. He is a 4th Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Shorin-ryu with more than 14 years of experience. This site was created as his way of both teaching his own Karate and learning about others.

Comments (3)

  1. Another way to break the grip if they continue to hold their arm is using a leg to push against their other arm. Legs will always be stronger than somebody’s grip strength, and their grip will eventually break.

    • The guy in the video actually taught me a technique that sounds rather similar to what you are suggesting. I will see about getting a video uploaded in the near future showing how to do it. Thanks for the feedback!

    • I learned this method as well, but a trick that I learned to use in conjunction with it is to lock your arms with a lever grip (same type you use for a rear naked choke) around the arm you want to armbar and sit back at an angle (11 o’clock or 1 o’clock) to help break their grip. All that said, the easiest way I have ever seen someone break the defensive grip to get an armbar was shown to me by a kenpo guy that comes to our dojo to spar on occasion. All he did was violently shake the leg that was crossed over his partner’s face, which caused his head to bounce against the floor–it was effortless and mean at the same time ;)

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