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3 Ways to Finish a Stepover Kimura in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

Kimura finishes

Kimura finishes

Kimura Jiu-Jitsu

The stepover Kimura finish from the top of half guard is a useful part of the same system that includes the floating pass and El Gato. However, the stepover version arises much earlier in the process, right as you find that you can separate the arm from the body. While the straight armlock here is a great option, sometimes it's not feasible to straighten your partner's arm, and sometimes it's more fun to step over the head and get a shoulder lock finish anyway. Here are three distinct ways to finish your partner with a shoulder lock, completely dependent on what your partner does (although you will have the ability to guide them down certain paths).

Top Finish

As usual, this technical series begins in the hip-switch half guard position. As you're attempting to pass the guard, your partner makes their arm available to you (usually by reaching to prevent the pass, or possibly by just flaring their elbow out). Once you catch the Kimura grip, you are able to move their arm away from their body, preventing the gripping defense that leads down the floating pass path. Since you can't straighten the arm out, it makes sense to step over the head, and that's where this finish really comes into play.

Notice that there need to be several preset conditions before you should go for this series; if they don't let go of their jacket as you're reaching for the grip, for example, then you won't be able to do the stepover sequence. When everything is good to go, start by driving your head forward, creating a much further-out point of base. This will enable your back leg to become light, which then enables you to step past your partner's head, ultimately preventing them from sitting up. You can simply finish the shoulder lock from here by lifting your partner's elbow. Note that there are also two entries shown here: simply stepping over, or doing something comparable to a knee drive to mount.

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Rolling Finish

When, in the course of attempting the previous technique, your partner is unwilling to let you lift their shoulder (very understandable!), a follow-up is needed. Start by looking in the direction of their head, making sure your shoulder is on the mat. Next up, drive forward from your back foot, and then just roll over your shoulder as you are continuing to lift their elbow up.

Once you finish the roll, bite down with both legs as though you are finishing a triangle choke (think: "live toes"). This will prevent your partner both from rolling and from posturing up. Some instructors prefer to cross their legs here, but I've always found that biting down heavily with my calves works best to prevent their escape, as crossing the legs opens space at the knees.

Dirtball Finish

The old "dirtball finish" here starts with driving the knee across in order to get your leg over to the other side of your partner's head. However, you're going to stop short of stepping over here, and instead keep your driving knee right on top of your partner's shoulder, smashing down their rotator cuff. Ouch. As you drop your knee down (carefully and slowly!), you can also lift the shoulder up slightly. While it's possible for your partner to lift their head up, it shouldn't be possible for their shoulder to lift, making this finish very quick indeed.

Such Is Jiu-Jitsu!

Like all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rabbit holes, only you can determine whether this one is worth fully exploring and developing into your game. I would recommend at least integrating the rolling finish, as that tends to work well against the highest number of folks. However, you may need to integrate the other two over time, as your partners get better and better at defending your initial attack. Such is life, and such is jiu-jitsu!

Lucky for us, this type of training evolution stimulates a part of your mind that solves problems quickly, and because of the nature of the way our thought processes work, you are actually becoming smarter with jiu-jitsu. As always, let me know if these techniques resonate with you!

© 2018 Andrew Smith

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