Kimura (From Bottom Position)

Black Belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) in traditional gis demonstrating the Kimura submission from bottom position

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Also known as the Double Wrist Lock or Figure-Four Wrist Lock, this submission is actually a submission in the shoulder joint–not the wrist as the alternative names would imply. Because the shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint with freedom to rotate in many different directions, there are a number of ways to isolate this joint and achieve a submission. The Kimura is considered a “branch down” submission, which means the arm is rotated down towards the opponent’s hips to lock the shoulder and finish this submission. This is in contrast to the “branch up” variant of shoulder submission that we call the Americana, which rotates the arm upwards towards the head as if the defender were saluting. The Kimura is most often achieved in one of two fundamental positions: Full Guard (from bottom) and Side Mount (from top). Click Here to see what this submission looks like from top control.

Key Kimura (from Guard) Details

Important details for the attacker (person in blue gi):
  1. Look in the defender’s ear. Once you have the defender’s arm secured in the figure-four grip, try to turn your body 90º to the defender. If you are at the correct angle, you will be able to see directly into the opponent’s ear without having to turn your head left or right. Having good control of the defender’s arm will keep them from being able to pass your guard, so it is often easier to finish this submission by opening your guard and shifting your hips so that your body is perpendicular to the defender.
  2. Twist the wrist. This submission can be difficult to accomplish against somebody with flexible shoulders. To negate some of their flexibility, you can twist their wrist like you are revving the throttle of a motorcycle as you rotate their arm.
  3. Push and pull. Many people have problems finishing this submission because they focus too much on pushing the opponent’s arm to rotate the shoulder and not properly isolating and stressing the ligaments in the shoulder. To make the submission more effective, try to take some of the slack out the shoulder joint before rotating the arm. As you turn your body 90º as described in Detail 1 above, elongate your body so that you are pushing against the defender’s body with your legs. This pulls their shoulder joint towards your own body. This detail is a small adjustment that can make a huge difference in your Kimura game.
  4. If you are having problems finishing the submission from this position, keep the same grips on the defenders arm, and drop your front leg to the mat. Next, use your back leg to support your body as you bridge up and roll towards your front leg. As you roll, try to use your front leg to knock the defender’s knees out from underneath them. This is a modified version of the scissor sweep that will give you the opportunity to attempt the Kimura from the Top Position at the end.
Important details for the defender (person in white gi):
  1. Posture up. Both the sweep and submission from this position are easiest to achieve if your posture is broken to where your upper body is parallel with the mat. Try to keep your posture vertical and do everything you can to keep some distance between you and the attacker.
  2. Beware the sweep. The attacker will have very good control over your arm. If they decide to execute the sweep instead of the submission, they will try to prevent you from using that arm to catch yourself when they roll you in that direction. The difference between using the Kimura grip for a sweep and using it for a submission is a simple shifting of the hips, so be aware that in defending one you might be setting yourself up to fall for the other.

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