Crossing Ankles in Arm Bar

Most Bjj schools teach juji-gatame with flat, parallel legs. Most escapes involve separating either one or both legs. This is much more difficult to do if the ankles are crossed, so would it not make more sense to teach the cross-ankled version?

I've seen it done both ways. Some people say that when you cross your ankles you are in danger of getting set up for a heel-hook or something to that affect.

If it works better for you I would cross your ankles. I know some like to cross their ankles in other forms of grappling.


I learned that you cross if you can cross under the far arm but if not leave uncrossed.

Crossing your ankles limits the amount of pressure you can put on your opponents head. Without that pressure you can get stacked. Uncrossed and heels down is the best way from the guard.

From the mount it is ok to cross if your legs are under the far arm, it's usually a good way to break their grip if they are defending well.

I've been shown to only cross your ankles when they have stacked up on you, so that you force their head sideways and away from you. I haven't been able to properly finish it from there though. I usually swirm out and finish the lock belly down or switch to something else if they have stacked me.

From guard - cross only when going to armbar from triangle.

From top - cross only when his far side arm is inbetween your legs.

End of thread.

Another reason not to do it, if the legs are crossed, he can just push them both up over his head and sit up. If they are parallel, it's much harder to do that.

Don Lind is correct. Crossing legs is Kosher and is my preferred way.

Crossing the ankles weakens the structure. Your knees are weaker when your ankles are crossed.

Bullshit. It doesn't weaken anything. Crossed ankles can be much harder to seperate and poke your head through.

You are sitting at your chair right now. Cross your ankles and squeeze your knees together. Pull your hamstrings tight and make like an armbar. Now do the same thing with your legs uncrossed.

No difference in power.

BOTH methods are acceptable.

Take a look at the photo of Roger Gracie (arguably the worlds best BJJ fighter today) as he broke Jacare's arm. Crossed ankles.

I'm with Bill. I tend to cross my ankles for one of two reasons: either he is trying to poke his head through, or I want to do an x-break. JMO...but I'm right.

If the arm isn't trapped it is just as easy to lift the legs off whether the ankles are crossed or not.

BTW - unrelated - but some blue namer post this picture please. [URL=][IMG][/IMG][/URL]


Roger should take some privates w/ nowinfuspeed

If you are going to cross your legs for a straight armbar from guard you want to spread your knees apart so you take away any space between you and the arm. The head side leg should be on the bottom.

From mount armbar crossing your legs is almost mandatory especially with higher level guys or no-gi. Too easy for someone to roll to their stomach or wipe the leg off their head.

Harder to shrug off the leg if ankles are crossed - no doubt. The time taken to uncross the 'one-unit' crossed ankles will see you tapping or worse. Any high-level bb's on here willing to posit their opinion and reasons why one is preferred than the other?