10/18/2014

Using video to improve your weak side and my favourite arm bar break

One common thing while training jiu jitsu is that often your attacks (and defences) might be significantly worse to your weak side compared with your better side. This is probably a natural thing as many people are right or left handed. The most common combination being a right hander vs a right hander.

Many instructors suggest you should develop both sides to a somewhat equal level but Marcelo Garcia for example consciously applies different techniques altogether depending on the side and does not want to develop his left side based on his right side. My quirk is that since I've been 5 years old, I've always liked symmetry and therefore like to develop same techniques on both sides.

However, I've started developing my weak side only for techniques where your opponent "chooses" the side:

  • A good example of a technique where the opponent usually doesn't choose the side is a cross choke from mount. You can usually slip your stronger hand to the collar without your opponent having much say in the matter. 
  • For an arm bar from top it is much more common that the opponent exposes only one of his arm and you have no chose to attack the side of that arm. Therefore your arm bar from top must be good both on your strong and weak side.
How I used video to develop my weak side:

  • I'll drill the strong side and film me performing the technique
  • Then I'll film it on the weak side and look for differences
  • Then I simply drill it on the weak side
This wanted to highlight this using my favourite arm bar break. I was taught this break my one of our brown belts and I quickly started finishing a bigger share of my arm bar attempts against big opponents. The problem was that I was getting this "wrench break" working when I was attacking their right arm but had trouble duplicating the success when attacking the left. 

The wrench break is performed as follows (see quick video below):
  1. Switch the controlling arm to the one on the side of my opponent's head. Touch your own knee with the palm
  2. Put your other (right) elbow between your elbow and your opponent's elbow. Usually you need to twist your upper body towards your opponent's head
  3. Connect your hands using a cable grip. This can be tricky but it resembles the initial grip when you attack a D'arce choke.
  4. Pull the arm to you in a circular motion. Your opponent can't keep his hand together because he has to fight back using only his forearm

After filming the technique numerous times I noticed that on my left side, phase 2 was difficult. The reason for this was that most of the time, on my better side, I was using the corner of my chest behind his elbow to create some additional space for my elbow to come in. Small thing, but made a world of difference. Unfortunately this detail is not very visible on the video above as my drilling partner is not keeping his elbows very close to his head. 


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