GB Fundamentals: The Short Arm Drag

This week on GB Technique we are going to look at the Short Arm Drag from wrestling. This is an absolute must know for Jiu-Jitsu students and especially for the No-gi game.
Why is the short arm drag such a valuable technique for the Jiu-Jitsu fighter?
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Because there is a BIG difference in practicing your takedowns with a cooperative partner and trying to get that same takedown on a strongly defensive opponent who is stuff arming you and keeping you at a distance. The short arm drag accomplishes a couple of important things that REALLY help attack your opponent.
1) Overcome the opponent’s defensive arms. In order to get close body contact to execute a double leg takedown (for example), we need to find a way to get past our opponent’s stiff arms. If the opponent is able to post on your body and keep you away from their hips, it is going to be very difficult to get close enough to them to get sufficient control to get your double leg.
In this situation, the short arm drag is a way of deflecting your opponent’s first line of defense and allow you to get in close quarters to work your takedown.
Arm drag to double leg takedown
Notice the details in how Prof. “Tussa” fights his opponent’s hands to create the setup for the arm drag, closing the distance and Tussa getting in on his opponent’s hips.
2) Create the angle. This next technique utilizing the short arm drag is from the bottom position. In the same way, our opponents may use their hands to post and keep distance in the standing position, the guard passer will use defensive hands to stay square to the guard player.
In Jiu-Jitsu (and ALL combat arts like boxing) we have an advantage if we can get a favorable angle on our opponents. With the angle advantage, we can look to move around the defensive arms blocking us and take the back. Not only is taking the back an option off of the arm drag, but we can use the advantage to attack a submission or sweep.
Tussa No-gi arm drag from guard
See how the arm drag variation that Prof. Tussa uses in his seated guard is not much different from what we saw on the feet. The key is to use the arm drag to win the hand fighting and quickly move to the opponent’s side, exposing the back. Once Prof. Tussa hits the arm drag, notice how he instantly scoots his hips to the side to take the angle on the opponent and expose the back.
Want to see more No-Gi techniques with Prof. Tussa Alencar? Check out his course on GB 2
If you have any questions about technique, please send us a message at GB Online!
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia