Systematically Attacking The Arm Bar By Gordon Ryan: My Full Review

I watched Gordon Ryan’s arm bar instructional. In this review I’ll tell you what I like about it and what I think could be better, and I tell you whether you should buy it now, wait for a discount or skip it altogether.

Gordon Ryan Arm Bar Instructional cover

Learn how to never lose an arm bar again

The Perfect Arm Bar

Basic info on the instructional

TitleSystematically Attacking The Arm Bar By Gordon Ryan
Publication dateOctober 2023
Duration7 hours and 23 minutes
TopicArm bar finishes (not entries)
Table: Basic info on Gordon Ryan’s arm bar instructional

My Review

Here’s my review structured as a table:

Total rating4,6 / 5
Instructor Rating5 / 5
Topic Importance5 / 5
Execution5 / 5
Novelty5 / 5
Structure3 / 5
  • Instructor rating: Gordon Ryan is one of the 3 best instructors easily. He explains things very clearly and stresses the difficult parts.
  • Topic importance: the arm bar is one of the 3 most important submissions easily. And finishing the arm bar is surprisingly hard for many people, even for many professional grapplers.
  • Execution: Gordon goes into a lot of detail, this instructional is longer than many of his other recent instructionals.
  • Novelty: Gordon shares many details that you can’t find anywhere else and this is also the first instructional on finishing mechanics of the arm bar.
  • Structure: Gordon uses a very logical tree-like structure, where the leg configurations are the main nodes, and within each node there are leaves that discuss the different grip breaks, escape counters, and so forth. This makes the instrucitonal easy to reference but repetitive if you’re watching it front to back.

🔥 What I Loved:

  1. Depth of Knowledge: Gordon Ryan is in a league of his own. The detail and precision he brings to each technique are unparalleled. If you’ve ever wanted to understand the armbar from every conceivable angle, especially the breaking mechanics, this is your go-to resource.
  2. Unique Techniques: The shoulder sankaku techniques were a revelation. Ryan’s method of splaying the knee and the double push grip technique were standout moments.
  3. Comprehensive Coverage: From foundational concepts to advanced sequences, it’s all here. Plus, live rolling sessions with Ryan’s commentary provide valuable insights into real-time application.

❗ What I don’t like:

  1. Information Overload: I always get overwhelmed by Gordon’s instructionals. In this one I literally watched 9 grip breaks for when I’m posting with my left hand, and then I had to watch the same 9 grip breaks again for when I’m posting with my right hand… Gordon is the GOAT because he cares about those details, but I’m telling you that all those grips breaks were very similar and I had to take a break after all of them…
  2. Structure Wish: While the content is invaluable, I would benefit from a different structure. I would like to get 2 volumes of ‘core content’, and then 6 volumes of ‘reference material‘. So then I can watch all the main content in 1 sitting and I can trouble shoot any issues I have in sparring on my own time.

If you’re considering adding this to your library, I’d say go for it. It’s a revolutionary instructional, the best yet on arm bars. But approach it partly as a reference material. Dive in, explore, but don’t feel pressured to absorb every detail in one go.

Final verdict

My final verdict on Gordon’s arm bar instructional is to buy it now.

With Black Friday around the corner you could also wait for a steep discount right now. But in general, I think this one is worth not spending your time to wait for a discount, but to spend your dollars instead to enjoy this instructional right now.

My summary notes

Here are my summary notes that I took during the first time I watched through Gordon Ryan’s arm bar instructional.

These notes probably won’t be individually intelligable to you – but I want to share them because I think they give you an idea of what the instructional is about and what somebody else took from it.


  1. Go elbow deep at the wrist
  2. Bring their elbow to a hip and pull the opposite direction
    • Where is the elbow in your lap? Is it in the middle, on the left hip, or right hip? Gordon pulls the elbow to the correct position in his lap. Which position is correct depends on the defensive grips of your opponents.
  3. Use kipping to break the grip(70% rule)
  4. Remember the difference between bottom vs top hand post
  5. Fall from hand to an elbow, lean the same way (usually), never fall to your shoulder before you get the arm extended


  • After separating the arms, grab hand to hand and support with second arm
  • Glue knuckles to the chest
    • You want your opponents knuckles on your chest, not their pinky. And you break over your hip bone (almost your inner thigh), not over your junk. Don’t point their thumb to the ceiling, that’s old school, which is just a nice way of saying it’s wrong.
  • Fall flat to your back
  • Point your head to the top side, so you can push your partners hand across your bottom hip with weight behind it
  • In the shoulder sankaku you can break over either hip
    • More details on the shoulder sankaku top side (the reason I wanted this instructional), splay your knee so they can’t see past it, and in this rare case you actually break their right arm over your left hip, with a double push grip.
    • And if your opponent manages to relock the hands, you have to convert your leg position to something with a cross face leg (e.g. scissor juji), as this shoulder sankaku is now unfinishable.
    • And if your opponent bypasses your splaid knee, you clamp down on the shoulder with your bottom leg, and you assist your bottom leg by stepping on your bottom ankle with your top leg ankle, and you push her shoulder away while you break over the left hip with the double push grip.
    • If your opponent beats the knee AND locks their hands, you’re about to lose. Switch back to a scissor juji asap, or you’ll lose the position.
    • If she goes for a rolling escape, you have to invert your knee in front of the face, roll with her and finish belly down.


  • Pretty much always you grab their hand at the thumb part or fully around the knuckle line and you open their hands physically.
  • After breaking the grips, you always do a small wrist lock, not to finish it but just to prevent them from grabbing their hands together again.

Also read: Top 5 Gordon Ryan Instructionals You Should Watch

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