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In this paper, an adaptive fuzzy control strategy is developed for robotic manipulators to guarantee both global stability and performance. A controller output error method (COEM) is introduced and applied to the design of adaptive fuzzy control system. The proposed control strategy employs a gradient descent algorithm to minimize a cost function which is based on the error of the controller output and is minimized by tuning some or all of the parameters of fuzzy controller. The simulation results show that the proposed control is effective and yields superior tracking performance.