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Ride Your Opponent To Victory With Kesa Gatame

Ride Your Opponent To Victory With Kesa Gatame


Control and Dominate Your Opponents With The Kesa Gatame (Scarf Hold) Position

Kesa Gatame, or the Scarf Hold, is an amazing controlling position that is often overlooked or even ignored in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The fear is that you will easily lose control over the position and your opponent will gain back control.

There is very little attention give to the kesa gatame compared to other grappling sports such as Wrestling, Judo or Sambo. This is understandable seeing as how Kesa Gatate is a very strong pinning position which is the objective in Wrestling and Judo, and many judo throws or wrestling takedowns will land you directly in the Kesa Gatame position. I find my use of Kesa is much lower during pure BJJ training when I am not going for throws and landing right in Kesa Gatame.

Do you think learning this powerful control position will increase your chances of dominating your opponent on top?


Tai Otoshi Judo Throw to Kesa Gatame

Since Kesa prevents your opponent from turning away and exposing their backs it is seen as a bad position for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. There is also the argument that Kesa opens up a path to attack the back position for the bottom person.

While there are some slight opportunities for them to take back control, the threat is slightly exaggerated. This is because many jiu jitsu players don’t regularly use Kesa gatame they are lacking in the fundamental principles of how to secure the position tightly and keeping their weight distributed in order to pin their opponent down. I’ve lost the Kesa Gatame position so many times early in my grappling training until I learned where my body needs to be to keep them pinned to the mat while I work for a submission.

And the kesa gatame position itself can be its own submission. As we stated before, it’s a very powerful controlling / pinning position that can put a crazy amount of pressure on your opponent’s chest, sucking the air, energy and life out of them. Personally I’ve tapped out some pretty decent guys with just my pressure from Kesa Gatame, and I’m only 150lbs! And much more famous is Josh Barnett’s submission over Dean Lister at Metamoris 4. Josh ended Lister’s 17 year unfinished streak with just pressure! Around the 8:30 mark in the following video is a breakdown on Barnett’s Kesa Gatame finish, and also note how Barnett’s body position makes a triangle like how we discussed the power of the triangle shape in my earlier article on the Triangle choke.

Josh Barnett Dean Lister Metamoris Breakdown

With Kesa putting so much pressure on your opponent, the position opens up quite a few high percentage submissions. Your opponent will often be struggling to breath and will be more concerned with that than with you slowly isolating an arm.  A simple armbar or an Americana with your legs are two of the most powerful submissions from Kesa as shown in the following video. And another personal favorite is the Bas Rutten Neck Crank, even though it’s not really a crank. It is way more a compression finish, it puts ridiculous amounts of pressure on the diaphragm not allowing your opponent to inhale.

How to Submit Your Opponent in Kesa Gatame

Bas Rutten Brutal Neck Crank from Kesa Gatame

Kesa Gatame can be a very powerful position if you train it (like any other position) and learn how to utilize it properly. On your path to a devastating Kesa Gatame, you will fail numerous times, getting your back taken, getting rolled, and just getting pushed off. But once you learn where your weight needs to be distributed you will be pinning everyone to the mat and attacking their arms. You may even get taps just from your awesome pressure. Train long and train hard and I’ll see you on the mats.

Josh Barnett says that riding your opponent is a key strategy for winning in MMA and any grappling sport. Tiring your opponent, killing all his strength and setting up the final submission to win the fight are the result of being able to control and ride your opponent well.

Josh is the former UFC Heavyweight Champion and current King of Pancrase dedicates over two full hours of concentrated instruction to one of the most important and most overlooked aspects of modern fighting: RIDING.

Grappling is physical chess and the fighter that stays one step ahead holds the winning advantage. In this DVD Josh covers rides and counters enabling you to know ahead of time what your opponent might do so that you can use his reaction against him.



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