Brian McLaughlin teaches Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes in Poughkeepsie every week night!

There are so many avenues towards submission from back mount; the most popular generally being the rear naked choke. Although a powerful attack, finishing from the back can be easier said than done against an experienced opponent. The video below goes over three arm traps to improve your finish rate from the back.

The first technique discussed in the video above is known as the BJ Penn arm trap. First, from standard back mount, we look to take out their hand on our underhook side. Using your underhook hand, grab the pinky edge of their hand to control as you fall to your underhook side. From here, shift from traditional hooks to bringing your bottom leg across their hips and your top leg along the side of their torso with your foot on their hip. With your free hand, attack a rear naked choke. As your opponent goes to defend, they’ll grab onto your choking arm in an attempt to pull it away from their neck. Resist the pull at first, then go with the pull. As they pull your arm away, hook their arm with your top leg, trapping it behind their back. From here standard rear naked choke finish.

Poughkeepsie jiu-jitsu coach showing a variety of arm traps

The next arm trap shown also starts by falling to the underhook side with the same foot configuration. This time, instead of using the underhook hand to grab their bottom side hand, use your top hand to grab their bottom hand and your underhook hand to grab their top hand. With this cross-grip or “straight jacket” configuration, use your underhook hand to push their top hand lower than the line of your knee. From here use your top leg to trap the arm behind their back and pass off the hand to go into the first trap in the video

The straight jacket cross-grip demonstrated by Coach Brian McLaughlin at Precision Boxing and MMA

Both of these first two traps are set up by the opponent falling to the underhook side, but the third trap in this video gives a scenario of a finish when falling to the over side. Using your underhook side (which is now your top side), do the same wrist-rolling motion from the first trap, but this time position your palm to the ceiling with the back of your hand in contact with their wrist. Making the same leg adjustment from the prior traps, jump your shin over their arm, hooking it with your palm to trap their arm. Use your hand to pull your foot all the way behind the opponents back to secure the arm trap. To free your choking arm from their remaining hand, use your top hand to peel their hand off from the pinky side. With your bottom hand, reach the arm across their throat grabbing your bicep. As they try to free the hand that you’re holding let it go and finish in traditional rear naked choke grip.

The third arm trap, falling to the over side.

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About the Author

Oliver Swanson is amateur boxer and Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt. An avid martial arts practitioner, he assists with classes for kids and adults and provides personal training services at Precision Boxing and MMA six days a week.