Tips and Tricks: The Americana

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Side control is one of the most dominant positions in Jiu-jitsu. It is a great place to gain positional control over your opponent while looking for submissions. One of the most basic submissions from side control is a shoulder lock known as the “Americana” shoulder lock. It also goes by a wide variety of other names such as; the double wrist lock, the key lock, the reverse Kimura, or the paint brush. No matter what you and your gym prefer to call the move, the Americana is a fundamental move that everyone should learn at some point in their Jiu-jitsu progression.

The first step to securing the Americana is isolating the arm. We can do this by using our body’s leverage and weight. For the set up in the video below I use my arm on the inside of the bicep. I then use my body weight to force the arm to the ground. After that I use my head to further force the arm to the ground.

Once the arm is isolated I grab my opponent’s wrist, slide my hand under his arm, and grab my own wrist. This is where the name the “double” wrist lock comes from. I then clasp both grips with a monkey grip, meaning that I grip without the use of my thumb, and force my elbow to the side of his neck. This should create a 90 degree angle in your opponent’s arm.

The first step in completing the submission is creating a “motorcycle grip.” I go more into the detail of the grip in the video below. When you motorcycle your grip you turn your hand so that your knuckles are facing the ground, similar to the motion of revving a motorcycle.

The next step is to pull his arm downward, and lift up. Usually your opponent will tap when you pull the arm down.

The video below goes in to more depth for completing the submission. For more information on me visit or follow me on Twitter at

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Andrew Ebers