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The Kimura with Three Limbs

The Kimura with Three Limbs

When we think of the kimura, we typically assume that it’s an upper body venture.  We use our arms to isolate and attack one of our opponent’s arms.

But thinking this way robs us of resources that we could use when we’re having trouble finishing the kimura.

We’ve all been there, we lock a kimura grip on a teammate, and suddenly, he gets handsy.  He locks his hands together, and we can’t break the grip.

The whole point of the kimura is to outnumber.  We use two arms against one arm. When our opponent brings in their second arm, the arms race is back even.  So, what do we do?

Kazushi Sakuraba would say we should tilt the odds back in our favor by adding another limb in the mix.  Below, he shows us how he uses his knee to break his opponent’s grip and secure the kimura.


Demonstrating his technique on Bernardo Faria, Sakuraba starts off with the familiar figure four grip.  However, Bernardo had the chance to lock his hands together and did so (1:04).

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At this point, both Sakuraba and Bernardo have two hands employed, Bernardo for defense and Sakuraba for attack.

Sakuraba breaks this stalemate by placing his left knee on Bernardo’s forearm/wrist (1:09).  This pins Bernardo’s arm against the ground, allowing Sakuraba to break Bernardo’s grip and swing Bernardo’s vulnerable arm around for a free and clear kimura.  

(If fighting in the gi, be sure to keep your opponent’s hand away from their gi as you bring their arm around and behind them.  Otherwise, they could still defend by grabbing a lapel or their belt).

As Bernardo points out, it’s a little detail.  But it’s always the little details that make the difference between success and failure—especially in BJJ.

Craig Jones adds, many people—when they do employ their knee to break an opponent’s grip—place that knee on their opponent’s bicep or upper arm.  However, an opponent’s grip is still relatively strong from there.


If there is a Mount Rushmore of MMA you HAVE TO include Kazushi Sakuraba. Sakuraba is known as the "Gracie Hunter" for his legendary battles with the Gracie Family. Kimura Hunting By Kazushi Sakuraba contains the strategies he used to defeat MULTIPLE members of The Gracie Family. The time to learn from the LEGEND himself is NOW!