Crossing the Feet

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by Discipulus, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. Discipulus

    Discipulus Black Belt

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    I want to ask about two scenarios in which people do this, and why they choose to do it.

    First, the arm bar. Traditionally, most of us are taught not to cross the feet. In BJJ this is typically a no-no. My instructors tell me that it causes the knees to spread apart, and I can see this. Lots of people get arm bars without crossing their feet, too, so it obviously works. But some very high level grapplers cross their feet for arm bars all the time. Robert Drysdale does it in the rolled up video. Ronda Rousey does it in MMA frequently. So there must be reasons for it. Since I already know the disadvantages, what are the advantages? Why would you choose to cross your feet, and how does it improve your arm bar?

    Second, when taking the back. I've seen a few people do this, as well. Of course there is the ankle lock open to your opponent, so that's one obvious reason not to do it. But I know that Ryan Hall is an advocate of crossing the feet during some of his back takes. I believe I've seen it a few times from Demian Maia, as well. So why do this instead of sinking both hooks in?
     
  2. Einarr

    Einarr Banned Banned

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    Crossing your feet for the top armbar is okay if you're crossing your feet behind the far arm. Roger crosses his feet doing armbars from the guard, but he uses his thighs to keep the posture broken down and the armbar tight. It's easier to say to beginners "never do this" than it is to say "never do this unless . . .".

    He crosses his feet high on their body and has the awareness to know when he is in danger of being ankle locked. This is fine, but lower is going to get your ankles cranked. New beginners are told "absolutely never cross your feet" because they don't have the awareness of their own foot positioning.

    It's a matter of when you know the rules well you can start to break them.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2013
  3. SuperAzn812

    SuperAzn812 Green Belt

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    But why do people cross their feet when they're armbaring from mount? Does it pin the person to the ground better?
     
  4. Calibur

    Calibur Jiu Jitsu Snob

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    Puts intense pressure on the shoulder making it easier to break a clutch.

    I don't intentionally do it. Sometimes I just land there, and the position is good anyway.
     
  5. SuperAzn812

    SuperAzn812 Green Belt

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    Thank you, good sir for enlightening me once again!
     
  6. beeran1

    beeran1 Purple Belt

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    It makes it more difficult for the armbaree to push your high leg over his/her head and escape. I pretty much always cross my feet for the armbar from mount. TBH, I never really understood why you wouldn't.
     
  7. kinkykid

    kinkykid White Belt

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    In the arm bar from mount, crossing your feet gives the elbow/shoulder more dexterity which is what the person needs to escape. Pinching instead will isolate the joint as much as possible. Next time you arm bar from there, don't cross, but pull both feet back to your ass. You'll find that the leg over their head will almost pinch their neck toward you. If they have a grip, fall towards their legs and extend both your upper body and legs...it'll be a cinch to break.
    Ryan may show his feet crossed during some of his rolling back takes, this is probably for control. I doubt that he has the ability to be ankle locked while rolling through to take the back. Once secure, you'll never see his feet cross, unless its to a side. The danger in crossing the feet is when it is inside the person's legs. Cross them to the side, and its similar to a body triangle.
     
  8. Makhno

    Makhno Green Belt

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    I was taught to cross the feet from a mounted armbar to prevent the suicide/hitchhiker escape. With your feet locked together, they are unable to roll out even if they get their thumb pointed down.
     
  9. Ramsey Dewey

    Ramsey Dewey Orange Belt Professional Fighter

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    There's a right way and a wrong way to cross your feet when doing an armbar. It's much easier to tell students not to cross their feet at all than to explain the difference and why it even matters.

    In short, the wrong way makes it much easier to escape the armbar. The right way makes it slightly harder to escape. Uncrossed feet doesn't give your opponent an advantage or a disadvantage either way. My advice- learn to do your armbars and escapes correctly without crossed feet, then when you do that, you'll quickly see the logic behind the foot crossing thing.
     
  10. Shemhazai

    Shemhazai Black Belt

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  11. BJJArsenal

    BJJArsenal Brown Belt

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    This is a pretty wrong post. It does not give the shoulder joint more dexterity, as it's possible to bring your feet to your arse while you have your feet crossed too.

    And Ryan crosses his feet a lot. You see it all the time on his back-takes DVD even if he's settled into the position and it's a habit he's clearly made himself - watch his match at the Houston Open last year against Bruno Henrique where he crosses his ankles on the back take which means he doesn't get the four points.

    My answer TS is it's okay to cross your feet on an armbar and I do it all the time. If I'm attacking the right arm, I put my left leg as the bottom leg when crossed as it makes it a lot harder for my opponent to posture up into me. However, you have to remember to keep your knees squeezed too.

    You can cross your feet from the back, but in competition put your hooks in first so that you get the points. After that, you can start controlling them in any other way. Personally, I only really cross my feet if I've trapped an arm.
     
  12. Shemhazai

    Shemhazai Black Belt

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    For those who didn't watch the Michael Jen video: You cross your feet on the armbar to pull the opponent's shoulders forward, preventing him from turning to his knees in either direction and compromising his posture. While you want to pinch your knees together when doing the armbar without the ankles crossed, you actually want to flare your knees outward when the ankles are crossed, as this puts more pressure on his face and upper body, stifling his movement forward and backward (sitting up and back-rolling), and the point of pinching the knees becomes redundant when you are controlling the far shoulder, which controls his movement in the lateral plane.
     
  13. Coolnickname

    Coolnickname Orange Belt

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    This.

    Just to clear up even more. On his back attack DVD. Ryan specifically addresses the fact that he crosses his feet up high and is aware of their position in regards to the old adage of the ankle lock

    The only issue with crossing your feet as long as you don't get ankle locked, is that with some effort and bad control from you in the dominant position, they may spin back into you and escape in an "mma" fashion (which Ryan also talks about on his DVD).


    I cross my feet for the armbar all the time. Even for a long period when I was told not to. I however just as often go back to pinching my knees if I feel like it or it feels like a better option. Sometimes I'll control with crossed feet, get the arm loose and then finish pinching my knees.

    I don't think you need to be super advanced to do this. But you certainly need to have a little bit more than a few months in. You have to understand the difference, not just execute things in the blind copy way that most people do when they're new.
    So to newbies I'd say stick with knees pinched. It's that simple.
     
  14. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    Yes. What it mostly does is prevent them from turning into you. You don't casually cross the feet, you cross the feet because you're pulling inward with your legs to lock their shoulders in place. At the same time, you're butterflying your knees downward putting pressure on their face and chest. Personally, I always cross my feet. It makes it much harder for them to escape IMO, because they have no freedom to move their other arm. I do uncross my feet once the grip is broken to finish.
     
  15. kintana

    kintana Purple Belt

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    There is a right way to cross the feet with the armbar. My instructor does it when he spars. Though he does not teach it or recommend it for his whitebelt or bluebelt students but for more advance guys he does teach it.
     

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