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John Danaher Demonstrates 3 Ways To Improve Your Kimura In BJJ

John Danaher Demonstrates 3 Ways To Improve Your Kimura In BJJ


“The Kimura System" from John Danaher: The Most Sought After Grappling Instructor On The Planet

The kimura is traditionally taught as a submission, but it is actually much more. John Danaher has a guided curriculum to show you much more about the Kimura than you thought was possible. The kimura can be used for a variety of reasons. For example, you can use it from bottom guard to sweep your opponent. Or you could use it on top guard as a pass or a gateway to other positions or submissions.

The kimura was a very common technique in Japanese Jujitsu, and when Masahiko Kimura, the judoka defeated Helio Gracie in a grappling match, by way of gyaku ude-garami, now known as "The Kimura" became one of the most recognizable and powerful techniques in all of grappling.


John Danaher is a legend in the grappling community and one of the most sought out instructors in the world. John Danaher is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) black belt under Renzo Gracie and an instructor at Renzo’s academy in New York City. Danaher is arguably the most infamous Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructor on the planet. Some of his students include memebers of the Dannaher Death squad Gordon Ryan, Garry Tonon, Tom DeBlass, and UFC Fighter Georges St. Pierre. Danaher and his death squad are notorious for their leg lock submissions. But, as you will soon experience, Danaher’s wisdom goes far, far beyond just leg locks. His approach and philosophy to jiu jitsu are world class. Danaher is truly a master and an incredible teacher.

You will the kimura used in all types of situations: Brazilian jiu jitsu gi and no gi, submission grappling, mixed martial arts, and self defense. No matter what you train, it is good for you to know how to approach the kimura. With that in mind let us take a look at 3 ways to improve your kimura in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Let’s get started!

#1: Side Kimura Switching Elbows

Your ability to penetrate underneath your opponent’s arm for the kimura relies on your opponent’s elbow being elevated. If the elbow comes down towards the floor it is very difficult to get the kimura grip, which can lead to very frustrating experiences. John Danaher shows a great example of this from top north south position when his opponent has his arms locked up tight. Anytime your opponent brings his elbow down to the floor it kills your ability to penetrate underneath for the kimura.

As frustrating as this is, there’s good news. The more your opponent brings his elbow down, the higher his other elbow will become. The real problem here is that people tend to develop tunnel vision: they intend to attack the left arm, but when it goes to the floor they are left clueless. It does no matter which elbow you attack in the north south position, both are available to you. But notice that when your opponent turns towards the mat he always offers his other one up for a kimura attack. Once you take advantage of this it is very easy to find your opponent and tighten up a kimura.

#2: Shoulder Line Mechanics

There are three ways to measure the power of your kimura. The first is the degree that your legs are incorporate into the submission. The second is the degree at which your opponent’s head is controlled. And the third is the degree at which your opponent’s shoulder is controlled. It takes only one of three of these measurements to have a powerful kimura. Understanding the mechanics of the shoulder line really come into play when attacking the kimura. What is the shoulder line? I am glad you ask. The shoulder line is the line directly across your opponent’s chest from one shoulder to the other. The further your training partner’s elbow is from the shoulder line the less pressure he feels. The more his elbow comes up to his shoulder line the less work you will have to do to get an effective break on your opponent’s arm. You should focus on moving your training partner’s arm up to the shoulder line.

#3: Switching To Alternative

With a kimura grip fully locked in from top side control position, thread your far arm through and get your elbow next to your training partner’s elbow. This sets you up for an arm bar, however it can be easily escaped using what is sometimes called a “hitch hiker” escape. You want to stay tight to your opponent and control the arm to make it difficult for your opponent to escape from bottom control. If your opponent gets to his knees you still have the kimura lock, which you can use to force your opponent back down. To finish the arm bar, extend your leg into a three quarter juji gatami to control your training partner’s head. Now you can free your opponent’s grip and straighten his arm in a much more difficult position to escape from.

The kimura is a powerful technique that can be used many different ways. A good thing to remember is not to let up once you get the kimura lock. Even if you are struggling to hit the submission you can use this position to control your opponent. The techniques that John Danaher demonstrated here prove that having a mastery of the kimura will greatly improve your game. So if you would like to learn the kimura faster and more efficiently then I recommend checking out John Danaher’s instructional series “Kimura: Enter The System” available exclusively on!

The kimura attack is one of the majoe concepts John Danaher teaches his Danaher Death Squad team.   According to Danaher, the Kimura has an incredible versatility factor due to the fact that it can be utilized in both Gi and No Gi and it is an extremely popular hold in MMA.  There have been countless UFC fights finished by way of Kimura.  Mastering this position will give the Jiu Jiteiro a weapon that can be used in all competition rule sets. Below we see John Danaher's student, Georges St. Pierre utilizing the Kimura in the highest levels of combat. 


Kimura Dan hardy St. Pierre




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