The Arm Drag is one of the most versatile set ups in all of grappling.
Originally this move was used in freestyle wrestling as a set up to different takedowns, a transitionary position to other grips, etc. but it has found its way into modern day Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Marcelo Garcia is one of, if not the greatest BJJ competitor of all time and one of his signature moves is his arm drag.
In the most basic explanation of the move Arm Drags are used to make your way towards your opponents back. The reason why this technique is favored by tons of different grapplers today is because of its versatility. Transitions, scrambles, new positions, and more all become available. From wrestling and standup techniques to different guard positions the arm drag could quickly change the momentum of the match.
So why did this technique become so popular in recent years in grappling?
Well, in short, it’s a high reward technique. In a perfect world, the arm drag would bring you from in front of your partner to all the way to the back. In a wrestling/mma/self defense scenario being behind your partner in a stand up scenario allows for a variety of techniques. Takedowns from the back, standing chokes, and more are some of the great offensive
reasons to execute this technique. From a defensive standpoint, there are plenty of good things but mainly you are no longer in danger of strikes since you are behind your opponent.
From a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu perspective it’s all of the things I previously mentioned and more incentive. In competition the back position is worth the most points and is deemed the most dominant position in BJJ. Well, using the arm drag can take you from a bottom position like butte
rfly guard to the most dominant position in all of grappling in a matter of seconds.
The Arm Drag is an effective, highly versatile and important technique in my opinion. Some notable people to watch while perfecting this move are (again) Marcelo Garcia, Cobrinha, the Mendes Bros, and more to name a few in the BJJ community.
There are a variety of different grips and methods to doing this move. My suggestion for beginning grapplers is to learn any basic way to execute this move and drill it with a partner until it becomes second nature. While rolling, you’ll see this move pop up constantly- go for it and believe in it.
As I post this, it’s almost midnight on a Sunday evening. Tomorrow is Monday and I hope everyone has a good week of training ahead.