Back in the beginning of January I gave myself a late Christmas present and purchased Ryan Hall’s Open Elbow DVD set. I choose this set because one of my jiu jitsu goals for the year was to master the Kimura. Being a fan of learning jiu jitsu through concepts, I was excited to see how something as simple as preventing my opponent from putting their elbow on their ribs would help my overall game. For the past few weeks I have been playing with the concept and trying to apply some of the Kimura principles that Hall discusses in the DVD. Below are a few of my recent Kimura aha moments.
The Kimura is a control position….not a submission.
For many jiu jitsu players the Kimura is seen as a submission. On the first disc of the Open Elbow set Ryan Hall suggests that the Kimura is a control position first and a submission second. While it is true that you can get the tap with the Kimura, you can also gain positional dominance on your opponent. By using proper grip, elbow control, and body structure the Kimura can be used to control your opponent’s movements and dictate the pace of the roll.
The Kimura connects to other submissions and positions.
The second disc of the Open Elbow set is all about the Kimura. On this disc Hall shares several ways that you can use the Kimura grip to transition to other positions or submissions. Some of my favorite transitions so far have been the Kimura to arm triangle, Kimura to Reverse Triangle, and the Kimura to the back. My favorite part about all of these transitions is that none of them are super complex and if at any point I feel like I am losing my positioning, I can easily transition back to my original Kimura grip and regain my positional dominance.
The Kimura can be used to help with passing.
This past month Coach Alder’s class at 10th Planet Van Nuys focused on passing the 1/2 guard. Throughout the month I found that the Kimura can be extremely helpful with passing the 1/2 guard. After passing my opponent’s knee shield I was a lot of times able to hip switch for a twister pass. During the hip switch I found myself in a position to grab the Kimura. This created a situation where my opponent had two options.
Option one was to try and fight the Kimura grip. When this happened I used the fact that they were focusing on my arms to unwrap my legs and pass to side control. By controlling your opponent’s arm you create an anchor point that allows you to focus on freeing your legs and going around the 1/2 guard. This also puts your opponent in a situation where they are being constantly threatened by the submission.
The second option that I found extremely useful was going over the top of the guard with a rolling Kimura. If my opponent’s 1/2 guard became weakened after I hip switched, I used the space to roll over my shoulder. During this roll my legs normally slid out of their 1/2 guard. If my legs did not slide out of their legs I could simply pin my opponent’s legs with my free foot and push their leg while pulling mine out. After rolling over the 1/2 guard I found myself in what David Avellan refers to as the Kimura Trap. In a future blog post I’ll share some of my options from this position.
Overall I’m enjoying learning a new position and submission. I’m excited to continue drilling and refining my Kimura skills over the next month.