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How To Imanari Roll for BJJ Submissions

In your Jiu Jitsu training, you will eventually master all of the fundamentals that are needed to heighten and advance your game. When that happens, you can start to add some flash to your game and make everything your own. There was one technique in particular that I worked hard on to add to my game. That technique was the Imanari roll.

What is Imanari Roll?

The Imanari roll is a rolling/inverting set up made famous by MMA leg locker, Masakazu Imanari. For those of you who do not know what the Imanari roll is, let me explain. It is a takedown, where the practitioner using it, rolls on his shoulders using his outside leg to cut in and reap the opponent’s leg causing him to fall down. Still having a difficult time understanding? Here is a clip of it in action. It is the man himself using it in the highlight video.

Craig Jones uses the Imanari roll as well as other rolling movements to attack leg lock submissions or get back control.

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How do I Make a Leg Attack with the Imanari Roll?

The Imanari roll works so well because it is a direct path to an opponent’s legs. If you are a fan of leg attacks, you can understand that sometimes it is hard to get to the positions needed to go for those attacks. The roll bypasses all of the precursors to executing those techniques. Once you roll and get your outside leg cutting in, you are already near your dominant leg entanglement to control your opponent and get him down to the ground. In this clip, black belt Karl Nemeth gives a small instructional on how to do the Imanari roll and how to get the heel hook after.

Using the Imanari Roll with Heel Hooks, Toe Holds, and Kneebars

The best attacks from the roll are heel hooks, toe holds and kneebars. Depending on how the opponent defends the roll, the way in which he defends will get you to one of those finishes. The next attack that is most likely to work from the roll is a kneebar. After you complete the roll, most of the time, your opponent will try to roll to avoid a leg entanglement. When he rolls, he actually puts himself in a kneebar. In this footage of a Jiu Jitsu competition, the competitor in the American flag shorts hits a perfect Imanari roll into a kneebar.

There has been renewed interest in the Imanari roll technique after the Ultimate Fighter 22 season. In the house, he used the roll to beat two of his opponents. He did the roll into a heel hook for two consecutive wins. Then at the live finale against Artem Lobov, he used the technique to get him to the ground to impose his superior ground game. The roll works, and it works well. If you have a hard time at double legs and single legs, this can be a fun and flashy alternative to bring someone down to the mat. As Ryan Hall said before, “In Jiu Jitsu, people don’y think it be what it be. But it do.”

Craig Jones is one of the best grapplers in the world today and he is notorious for his lower body attacks. He has one of the most unique leg attack systems there is, including how to attack from half guard, butterfly guard and 50/50 guard. Become a leg lock machine and learn to get them from everywhere with Craig Jones.

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