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The Half Guard Kimura

The Half Guard Kimura


The kimura is my favorite joint lock submission mostly because of its versatility. This extremely powerful shoulder lock can be attacked from closed guard, half guard, side control, and so many other positions. Not only is it versatile in the sense that it can be attacked from so many positions, but it can be used in many ways as well.

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The kimura is traditionally looked at as an offensive option, however, when used correctly, it can also be defensive. For example, if someone is getting past your guard and you lock up a kimura grip, you can either keep them at bay or sweep them over with it. Even the threat of the kimura can keep many opponent’s wary and make them slower to attack.

The half guard is an excellent position to attack the kimura from because it allows you to control your opponent’s lower body with your legs while control the upper body with the arm. I generally find gripping the kimura here easy to capture but the submission remains tough to finish. This is because the defender can maintain space and posture better than they can in other positions.

Setting up the kimura from half guard can be both proactive and reactive. To attack it reactively, you have to wait till the top player exposes their arm by attacking you in some way. In the following video, Danaher Death Squat member and Jiu Jitsu celebrity Garry Tonon illustrates different ways of setting up this submission.

The guillotine from the top position can also be reactive or proactive. Its reactive if you start getting close to your partner and proactive if they reach for it. Fortunately, the guillotine from top half guard is a difficult submission to finish, and if the bottom person has good guillotine awareness, they can take advantage of that.

After establishing the kimura from the baited guillotine, you can attempt to finish the submission or try a sweep. From my experience, the sweep is more effective if you are going against a skill opponent that understands the concepts of posture.

One trick I do often, though, if the top player postures back far enough forcing their weight behind them is use the kimura to push them while simultaneously bridging into them. This will force your opponent on your back and you will land on top with the kimura grip.

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