Double Trouble

To fully control a near side limb, you must also control a far side limb.

It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to prevent your opponent from escaping an arm or leg attack is by focusing on the other arm or leg.

This concept, known as double trouble, was named by John Danaher and is often used in the context of leglocks. However, it’s equally applicable to armlocks.

The general idea is as follows:

  • To effectively execute an arm or leg submission you must fully immobilize the limb.
  • To fully immobilize the limb you must prevent your opponent from being able to rotate. This is important because many escapes involve rotating or spinning out of the submission. For example, rolling to escape a heel hook or the hitchhiker’s escape to the armbar.
  • Preventing rotational escapes requires you to immobilize the shoulder joint for armlocks, or the hip joint for leglocks.
  • Immobilizing the shoulder or hip is best done by immobilizing the torso.
  • The best way to prevent the torso from rotating is by controlling both the near and far side.
  • Therefore, to effectively execute an arm or leg submission you should control the far side as well as the near side.

Some examples of double trouble in action:

  • Armbar: Pinch the far shoulder with your ankles to tighten the armbar.
  • Omoplata: Your opponent can roll unless you lean over and control the far shoulder.
  • Kimura: Usually the ground acts as a wedge that blocks movement on the far shoulder.
  • Americana: It is challenging to finish the Americana on the far arm unless you use your body to immobilize the near arm.
  • Bow and arrow choke: In this unusual example of double trouble, you have control of the near side leg and the far side arm.

Further study