Advanced Kimura Grip Concepts: The "Trade" (A BJJ Tutorial)

Updated on April 14, 2020
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Andrew Smith is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs BJJ Path, a video tutorial website.

The "Trade"
The "Trade"

Getting Into the Float

Once you've managed to become proficient with the floating pass described previously, you're going to need to become ready for two extremely likely scenarios: the bump to north/south ("El Gato"), and the much slicker foot grab/back take combo described herein, which leads you to "the trade" guard pass. What follows are a few likely scenarios that will get you into the position, along with some key details and major concepts that will help you understand what's going on with this pass. Understanding the trade is key to understanding some of the standing Kimura stuff, along with having a much better handle on what to do during the float series.

The Basic Concept Of "The Trade"

The basis of "the trade" starts when your partner is relatively advanced, and moves to take your back when you go to maneuver into the "floating pass" (see this previous tutorial for explanations on how to get started with this system). Start with your solid Kimura grip (the person is grabbing inside of their hip/thigh if it's no-gi (and sometimes in the gi as well), and possibly grabbing their lapel or belt if it's gi. After making sure to wedge your trapped knee free as usual, you notice that your partner is grabbing your free (right, in this video) foot. This is your cue that they're going to attempt a simple back take, as demonstrated.

Instead of trying to prevent them from grabbing the foot they mean to trap with their legs, allow them to do it, taking the opportunity to establish "the trade" position, kind of like a backward "floating pass" position. From here, simply pass as normal. In the video, I elect to finish a simple north/south Kimura after passing to side control (this finish will vary widely depending on how your partner reacts, whether they're still gripping, etc).

Trade Concepts and Details

In this particular video, you can observe two important things: first, when I'm working to free my trapped leg in the "floating pass", I allow my partner to trap my leg, then free the trapped leg with a similar hooking manner (hooking their hip in order to prevent them from recovering the leg I've just freed); and second, I get to decide on whether I pass to side control or north/south (a la "El Gato" from the previous tutorial). The great thing about this second benefit is that you can determine where you want to go in advance, and do the move you're best at, as opposed to being at the mercy of your partner's reaction.


Another high percentage way to set up "the trade" is with the rolling Kimura pass (we'll go over that concept soon in our "catching the trail arm" tutorial coming up!). Once you've set it up, however, it's likely that even when you pass the legs, your partner is going to clasp their hands together, keeping you from going to north/south to finish a Kimura or take the back (or finish the armlock, etc). Here's a very simple submission for when they're insistent on holding their hands together, Gable-grip style: Simply set up a triangle choke from the back. This will be covered in more detail in future tutorials as well, but it is right there when you're doing the trade pass.

Final Thoughts

Remember: This guard pass is only the beginning of a new possible world of Kimura grip scenarios, including the upcoming "catching the trail arm" concept. Understanding the trade will lead to a better understanding of passing the half guard in general, backstep passes, and a whole lot more, and you'll be able to finish a lot more opponents in competition. Happy training!

Trade, Float, or El Gato?

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