Arm drag to take back from guard?


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May 24, 2004
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Teach me the way, best setups included. I've been wanting to add this move for a long time, but nobody at my school does it much -- tho a blue belt I've never seen anyone do it, and never been taught it.

I also haven't seen any good instructionals on the web. I've seen one where the guy puts both hands on one side when you try to sweep, but how often does that happen?

This is with gi.

Thanks for all responses!

(Oh, I should mention that I want to learn the technique to use where you are smaller and weaker than your opponent, not one where you just hurl him to the side with a massive armdrag pull, like some really strong wrestlers will do).
I believe Marcello Garcia goes over that in one of his instructionals. He does a very good job of it too.

Btw, much props for the HG avatar.
Good question.
I could've sworn I saw it in either "The Guard" or "Passing the Guard." I'll check when I get home from work.
Although I'm not so sure that it's doable if there really is a huge weight difference. That is, if I'm small and I got a huge guy in my guard, unless I get his momentum moving forward towards my head, and of course his arm crossed over and also moving forward, I don't think you'll be able to get it. I think it's just supposed to be one smooth move, taking advantage of when your opponent is off base, more than a leverage-based move.
This is to say that the obvious and best defense to it, if you're the opponent, is, of course, POSTURE.
Garcia is the master, but his dvd on taking the back is just one out of a six-disc set, and I don't want to have to buy all six discs.

I have The Guard, but I don't recall much material on armdrags. I'll take a look at it. I think you can get them to work against big opponents if you set it up right and climb around right. I recall pushing off the knee helps -- maybe arm drag while standing back off the knees would do the job.
You can do them from multiple angles. As stated earlier they are best used when your opponent isn't posturing good. You do know how to do the arm drag correct itself right? Anyways, I like to do it from closed guard, I'm not really an expert on the subject but just wait until they aren't expecting it and explode into it. When you do have them broken down remember to get a deep hook on their back and block their arm with your elbow to keep them from pulling it back out.
armdrag can be done standing or guard. there is no way to explain it you have to see it.. marcelo has got the best dvd on it. standing you land the arm drag to where the side of your head is traping his arm and your hand should be on his tricep... you then turn and go to one knee snapping him foward and finish up on the back.. you have got to see it to fully understand. from the guard i love to do it from open guard like if they grad my ankle or knee. grab the gi on the wrist and straighten your leg out and kick it to break his grip, now do your arm drag then scoot your butt up deep into half guard and push the arm to the side and start coming out to the side and take the back with the other hand.. arm drags are sooo deadly when done right so i hope i helped but you gotta learn it from someone.. itll change your game
Don't konw if it'll work for you, but the arm drag is my favorite move against bigger stronger grapplers in my guard.
Here's basically how it works:

Push the guy away with your feet for a while until he gets a little annoyed. Push his shins, his stomach, his hips, and even do a little spider guard action. Keep him at a distance.

If he gets frustrated a little he may start leaning in and over you. The whole time you're waiting for that exact moment when everything comes together and you can feel him just enough off balance, and then WHAM yank that arm over. Immediately hug with all your might: your body is now trapping his arm across.

So let's say you've dragged HIS right arm across your body. Reach as far as you can over his back with your left hand. Grab his Left armpit or somewher over there. You're now in a really good spot, but not home yet.

Now push his LEFT knee away from you with your RIGHT foot. This should collapse his base.
Swing your left leg over his back. You may have to elbow up on your right elbow, or even push up with your hand.

Your right hook is basically in at this point, so work aggresively to get your left hook in.
You should have the back now.
Sometimes they'll squirm wrong and you'll find that they've ended up with you mounted on them.
Awesome. It sounds like it's pretty damn similar to taking the back from half guard, almost like you arm drag into half guard with the underhook, no?

I think the kick off from the knee sounds like it is key to flattening the guy out and getting to the side.
The key is to move your own body too when you drag. If you try to keep your hips in one place and drag, the arm drag won't work on bigger opponents.

Pull hard on the arm drag, but also pop your hips out to the side. Start taking his back a split second before you actually pull on the arm drag.

The key on the arm drag is not to literally pull all of his weight forward. It is to pull him off balance just enough that you have a chance to climb around to his back.

It is one of my favorite moves.
Yes it is important to move your hips to the side when you do the arm drag. Also reach around with your hand that is not doing the arm drag and grab your opponent on his far shoulder in order to help pull yourself around and control your opponent.