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Kimura Enter The System Preview
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Kimura Enter The System Preview

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Wouldn’t it be nice if every submission attempt was successful every time?  Imagine, you get the Kimura set up and the opponent does nothing to defend it.  I’m not sure if that would really make things better, or if it would just make things boring.  

Nevertheless, there are several submissions in Jiu Jitsu that can go south fairly quickly if your opponent is able to secure any type of grip either connecting to their other hand, their Gi, inside their thigh, or anywhere else for that matter.  There is not always going to be a way for us to prevent this from happening. It’s probably best if we just stop trying to submit our opponents, if we don’t attempt the submission, they can’t defend it… right?

Obviously, that is not a solution.  However, it can be really frustrating to have your submission attempts continually shut down by all of your training partners.  It is increasingly frustrating when it’s the same submission attempt, getting shut down the same way… every… single… time. So, what do we do?

First, it’s important to take a deep dive into the area with the most opportunity.  Which submission are you going for and continually get shut down by the opponent? Is it a triangle choke submission?  Maybe your arm locks need some work? Could it be your back control that needs attention? If you are anything like me, the is yes, to all of these.  My list of opportunities is a mile long, like most of us on this journey. So pick a submission that you like, and has a high percentage of effectiveness in the sport overall. Don’t base it only on your personally effectiveness, but as a whole.  Look for the submissions that are being used at the highest levels by the best grapplers on the globe.

Let’s start by taking a look at the Kimura.  Professor John Danaher has created video instructionals for what he considers to be the foundational techniques in Jiu Jitsu.  Now, what you need to know about Professor Danaher is that he has trained some of the absolute best athletes to ever step on the mats and represent our sport.  Additionally, as you will see in the very first video of his that you watch, his approach to Jiu Jitsu, and his teaching style are unique. The level of detail explained in each technique, as well as the thought process behind why makes it easy to understand exactly what the goal is, how to accomplish the goal, and what to do when you hit a road block along the way.  

Professor Danaher gives us an incredible sneak peak at his video instructional “Kimura: Enter The System” and it’s pure gold. Check it out here:

The immediate goal we need to address is how do we take the opponents arm from a very strong “interior position” to an “exterior position” where the opponent’s strength is greatly reduced.  Before we get in to this in depth, Professor Danaher notes that it is important to understand the two faces of the Kimura.

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The first face being that it is an incredibly strong position for inflicting extreme amounts of pain and ultimately giving you the ability to break the arm should the need arise.  Obviously, we should not be aiming to break our training partners arm, even in competition, the goal is not to destroy your opponent’s arm, but to win the match by submission, meaning the opponent taps from the pain felt by your submission attack.  This all changes, potentially if this is a street fight situation, while I don’t want to break anyone’s arm, if that is what must happen to get the threat to stop, then this is the submission to use.

The other face of the Kimura is extremely useful not only for us in Jiu Jitsu, but for our friend in law enforcement, corrections, or any other field that may require them to control someone.  The Kimura gives you the ability to manipulate the human body to move in which ever direction you please. It can be a very useful, and very effective tool in a wide array of situations.

Professor Danaher starts off in a standard Kimura position with his knees on each side of his opponent’s head and his right arm cradling his opponent’s top arm. (The opponent is laying on their side as they would be in a modified top mount position).  If in this position you are experiencing extreme resistance from the opponent due to their ability to get a grip on their bottom hand, arm, thigh, or otherwise, Danaher advises we look to move to another submission that can be more efficient, rather than exhaust extreme amounts of energy trying to break the opponent’s grip.  

His immediate choice is to move to an arm lock.  In order to make this transition smoothly we first need to switch control arms.  Currently Professor Danaher is controlling the opponent’s top arm with his left arm (outside arm) we want to switch to an elbow deep control using our right arm to control the opponent’s top arm.

Next, from the elbow to elbow position we are now in, we simply need to lean forward, down the opponent’s body putting our chest above the opponent’s hips and placing our hand on the mat directly in line with the opponents hips to form a base.  

We can now windshield wiper our feet to the outside to enable us to step up with our inside leg putting our heel as close as possible to the opponent’s neck area.  Meanwhile our second foot is close to the top of the opponent’s head for now, because of the windshield wiper motion we just conducted. Once our inside foot is in place, using our planted foot, and the hand we placed on the mat by the opponent’s hips we want to put our weight on these two base points allowing us to drag the outside leg down the opponent’s back and bringing the knee up along the opposite side of the opponent’s arm.  This should leave us in a positions where the inside leg is planted on near the opponent’s face, and our knee is pointed up towards the ceiling on the top or right side of the opponent’s arm, and our outside leg is also planted, but on the outside pressed against the opponent’s back, in the same layout as the interior leg, with our knee pointed upward but with this leg on the bottom or left side of the opponents arm. We are now sitting on our butt in this position, with our hips as close to the opponent as possible and our hand still on the mat as a base.  

At this point we can sit up and remove our base.  We MUST switch back to a Kimura grip. Failing to do this will open up the possibility for the opponent to escape easily because of their ability to rotate their arm and shoulder.

Assuming the opponent locks their hands to defend, as they did when we attempted the Kimura attack, we want to bring our outside leg (the one under the opponent’s back) over to the other side of the opponent’s body.  In doing this we want to lace our leg through their locked arms ending with our foot on the top side the opponent’s bottom arm and our feet crossed. Side note, if they don’t lock their hands, simply finish the arm lock.

We now have the ability to grab the opponent’s hands and simply peel them apart as we lay back taking the arm we are attacking, the one closest to us, with us as we lay back.  A huge miss here is creating space between your hips and the opponent’s shoulder as we transition through each technique. You’ll notice in Professor Danaher’s breakdown that his opponent is still very much on their side because he has kept his hips tight to their shoulder thought out the entire process and not allowed the opponent to turn back into him.

As we lay back there is only one way for the opponent to go and that’s to try to walk or turtle away from you, this is not a realistic option for them because it will only make matters worse for them.  At this point you should be able to finish the arm lock submission with ease as you have removed all of your opponent’s means of defending. To finish simply control the arm by gripping the hand and wrists with a two on one grip and lift your hips as you pull the arm into your chest.

It is possible that the opponent is able to make enough space to turn into you, despite your best efforts to prevent this from happening.  With enough movement, there is certainly a chance of this happening. It’s not a problem, Professor Danaher has a response for this too. As they come toward you, we want to catch the tricep of the second arm and pull them towards us as we lay back and switch our top leg to the opposite side of the opponent’s head all simultaneously.  As we do this it’s important to use your knee as a wedge under the opponent’s head as they come up to their knees, this will help limit and control their movement. At this point both of our legs should be pointed in the same direction. As the opponent comes to their knees, we can begin to lock up our triangle choke and finish the submission as we normally would.

It’s often said that Jiu Jitsu is like human chess.  I could not agree more. As demonstrated in this short 5 minute video, having a plan, or a “system” to chain techniques together allowing you to plan 2 or 3 or 4 or more submission attacks in advance becomes necessary as your begin training with higher level grapplers.  After the first few months everyone will know your plan when you shoot for a triangle, and they will know how to stop it. This is where the game begins, now it’s your job to know what they will do to defend it, and have a plan to use that defense as an opportunity to advance your position and setup another attack.  The deeper you go down this road, the more likely you are to be able to trip up the opponent and launch a successful submission that ultimately forces them to tap.

I have seen several comments on various social media platforms addressing the cost of video instructionals and questioning their value.  Here are my thoughts. All of the detail noted here was drawn from a video just over 5 minutes in length. If we take Professor Danaher’s “Kimura: Enter The System” video instructional as an example, the video sells for just under $200 typically, and has over 8 hours of content.  I find it interesting people could ever argue the value of this to get detailed instruction from the best grapplers and instructors on the planet, in a format that you can pause and re-watch as many times as you need to ensure you got all of the details for the particular technique you are studying.  

So, the short response to this argument is YES, it’s worth your money, to be honest, it’s worth a lot more.  Video instructional also provide the opportunity for you to study technique when you can’t train. Maybe you travel for work and want to study a technique on the flight, or in your hotel, this gives you the opportunity to do so.  Our sport is evolving more rapidly than ever and with access to the best instructors through video instruction, it’s only going to continue to evolve. You don’t want to be the one left behind.

Check out all of Professor Danaher’s “Enter The System” series to take your game to the next level.  There is enough content in these video instructionals to keep you busy for hours and hours each day. Whether you are law enforcement or not Kimura: Enter The System by John Danaher has something for you!

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