If I had to pick one Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu question that I’ve been asked more than any other it would have to be some version of “How do I escape the armbar”. You could replace armbar with any finish of your choice. My answer is always the same, “Don’t get caught in one”. While it sounds like I’m either making a joke or drastically oversimplifying it is completely true. One of the hardest things to get people to truly understand in BJJ is that they will be alot better in the long run if they put in the time learning how to avoid ending up in a position where a finish is likely.
Here is something I have experienced countless times. I will be watching two people grapple and one person will be fighting off an armbar with all the strength and energy they can muster. If I stop the pair and ask how they ended up in the position where he/she was caught in the armbar they will have no idea. How much would this person’s game improve if they tapped early and with enough presence of mind to be able to analyze how they ended up there in the first place? Somebody who is able to do this may be the one in the room nobody notices for awhile but I can promise you they will also be the one beating everyone in the gym down the road (and have a lot fewer injuries as well).
Why is this one of the hardest things in the world to get people to do……because when you’re grappling you’re not only going against your training partner but also your ego which is the most feared opponent you’ll ever face.