Side Control Kimura Set Up from Rafeal Mendes


When learning a submission you eventually reach the point where you need to find new set ups because your training partners know how to stop all of you go to set ups. I recently had this happen to me with the Kimura from side control. I was becoming frustrated because people were not falling into my set ups as easy as they used to. Enter this innovative set up from Rafeal Mendes. I have been playing around with this set up for the past few months and it has worked wonders on my game. I really like how the wrist grab is available from everywhere. I also love how this set up uses the Open Elbow concept that Ryan Hall talks about. Below is the video of the set up.

As I played around with this set up I found three aspects of it that make this set up unique and super powerful.

The Underhand Grip

I’ll admit when I first saw this grip I wasn’t convinced that it would be super effective. As I played around with the underhand grip I found that using the underhand grip allows you to easily get to your opponent’s wrist when they start to use the common defense of framing you in side control. The grip also leads to a very important aspect of the set up that we will cover later. One of my big takeaways from this position is that you have to pin your opponent’s hand to their chest once you get the grip. The easiest way to do this is to drop your chest onto their hand. I played around with the pinned hand grip with several of my training partners and they all commented that their hand was trapped once I dropped my chest. I also had a few of them try it on me and yeah…..it sucks to be caught with this.

The Elbow Pry

Anyone who has ever taken a class or private lesson from me will tell you that I am a big fan of Ryan Hall. I love Ryan’s basic approach to jiu jitsu that works on solid principles that can be applied to any situation. One of the principles I have been playing around with is Ryan’s Open Elbow concept and using it to pry open the space you need get to the Kimura grip.

This same concept is applied with this set up. Instead of prying open the elbow, Rafa uses his wrist to elbow grip to pull his opponent onto their side. Pulling your opponent onto his side opens up their elbow which creates the space needed to get your hand in for the grip. Speaking of which….

The Turn

I had to watch this part of the set up several times before realizing how amazing this detail is. After using the wrist to open up the elbow and bring his opponent to their side, Rafa uses the initial underhand grip to turn the wrist. This small but crucial detail does two big things. Number one it creates the space you need to shoot your hand in and grab the Kimura grip. This detail also causes the muscles in the shoulder to tighten which makes the Kimura finish very easy. This detail can be very frustrating at first but don’t give up! It’s amazing once you figure it out.

This set up is one I definitely want to continue exploring. It’s secure, high percentage, and super innovative! If you are interested in learning more about this set up and some of the other Kimura ahas fill out this contact form to connect with me.

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