Advanced Kimura Attacks From Half Guard Bottom: A BJJ Tutorial

Advanced Kimura Options!

Now we're getting into the really fun stuff - the advanced Kimura game! These are some of my personal favorite techniques to play with, although they can be difficult to pull off initially. If you haven't done so already, make sure you understand the basic Kimura from half guard bottom. Once you've gotten pretty decent with the more basic set ups, understanding the rolling armbar option is extremely helpful before proceeding here. Once you have played with the above and are still getting shut down, it's time to play with the belly down armbar and back take options that follow! Over time, though, they can help a great deal with overall understanding. Let's get started!

Switching to the Armbar

Starting with the finishing position from the last tutorial (the stepover finish one), sometimes your partner is just going to be holding on too well for you to break the grip, in spite of the increased leverage that the stepover position provides. In this case, build your base up from your shoulder to the crown of your head, and then thread your left foot all the way across your partner's waist, hooking outside of their hip. Next, hook the back of your partner's head with your left foot, posting on your head and knee in order to keep your balance (and in order not to kick your partner in the back of the head!). Now, slide underneath your partner by collapsing your left knee. This will help you slide underneath your partner's hips, and the leg that's across your partner's hips will elevate their hips. The left foot that was hooking behind their head will act to facilitate the roll, encouraging your partner to tuck their chin (and actually making the roll through much safer here). Keep your hips facing their legs in order to keep your partner from coming up on top. In the video here, I end up switching to the triangle.

Turns out, Not Everyone Wants to Roll

In this next move, start the same way: stepover finish, can't free the arm, so switch to the belly down armbar position. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to be so eager to roll, so you may get stuck here in this spot. Fortunately, there's a competition-tested method for rolling your partner over best exhibited today by Ronda Rousey in MMA competition, and first brought to prominence by the likes of Neil Adams (multiple time Olympic medalist and world champion) in international judo competition back in the 1980s. First, weave your right hand through so that you can switch from the coveted Kimura grip to the (in this case, much better) pocket grip. This frees up your left hand. Weave it over your partner's near foot, eventually hooking underneath their far foot. Just pull their foot toward your face, and then across your body, making their hips essentially weightless. Now finish from the top!

Oh, You Fancy

From the previous technique, sometimes you're just unable to get the roll through, or perhaps you just feel better about trying the following technique. While still up on the crown of your head, shoot your right leg all the way across your partner's body, finally settling your knee underneath their far arm (I used to call this an "invisible hook", as it can provide a tremendous amount of control). Using your right knee, you can now block your partner's base to the front right corner. Meanwhile, allow your left foot to take a shallow "back hook" inside your partner's left thigh. All that remains is for you to lean in that direction, lifting with your left hook. Instead of trying to finish the armbar from the back, in this case, it can be a lot easier to keep the Kimura grip and simply kick your partner off to the side, then reset into the top armbar position (my personal favorite finish).


  • To the back
  • To the armbar
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Final Thoughts

In addition to the aforementioned half guard bottom tutorials that preceded this one in both chronology and complexity, you may have a great deal of success playing with the Kimura from top half guard if you haven't already done so, and the Re-Kimura game is well worth exploring. As always, please try this stuff out and let me know if it works for you! And believe me when I say that there will be much more coming in the near future.

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