BJJ Kimura Grip Rolling Back Take

Updated on April 13, 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.

Lazy El Gato and a Fantastic Technique

The rolling Kimura from the top seems to be a pretty flashy move at first glance, but if you've been following my Kimura system over the past few years, you'll understand that it's really just an extension of one of the fundamental moves: the "el gato." That said, it remains an incredibly effective technique to use on higher-level opponents, both as a guard pass (as previously described) and as a back take (as shown here). We'll go over the basic "lazy el gato" technique, and then do some important troubleshooting for when our opponents figure out what we're up to.

"Proper" Lazy El Gato

The Classic Lazy

An extremely effective way to get your partner to post on the ground when they're savvy is to grab the back of their collar with your right hand while standing above them, and drive their right ear toward the ground. This will cause your partner to have to post on the ground (or fall over, setting up an easy knee cut pass). Hooking through their arm and then grabbing their right wrist with your right hand (or really just covering it), roll over your right shoulder, just like doing a basic rolling breakfall. During the roll, you can catch the Kimura grip and make sure that your left arm passes to the same side of your opponent's head as your right arm, creating a frame.

This frame will make it difficult for your partner to turn in toward you, but you do want to give them a little bit of hope. Once they start to turn, slide your right knee into the space created between their hip and armpit, and insert your left hook so as to start taking the back. From here, everything can turn to the right while sliding forward, forcing your partner to turn, and, ultimately, allowing you to get your second hook in. I finish with a bow and arrow choke here.

Additional Angle and Details

Above is a second look at the same technique, but with a different angle. Note that at the beginning, right after I get my partner to post on the ground, I drop my stomach on top of the back of his head in order to keep his weight on his arm. This helps facilitate the roll, too, since you're already down close to the ground before you initiate your shoulder roll.

Making Use of the Butterfly Hook

Against an Athlete

When rolling with, say, a division one college wrestler, or someone else who has a terrific knack for turning their hips over quickly (maybe even someone familiar with this system), you're going to need to be ready for when your partner gets to their knees. In the same exact scenario, immediately after the roll, use your left foot like a butterfly hook in order to push your partner's right leg straight. This will cause their weight to drop back. Use this momentum to carry you over the top, ending up on your partner's back when they have both knees on the ground.

Note: this is a prime spot to set up a triangle choke as well.

Dealing with a More Technical Escape

Another very common thing you're going to have to deal with is a more technical back escape, when your partner tries to put their shoulders on the mat. Because this escape is fundamentally correct and likely to be a go-to for your savvy partner, it's doubly important to have this escape at the ready. If your partner is trying to scrape you off by putting their back on the mat to your left, all before you have your right hook in, you're going to use the right hook to "flick them off" of you (hey, whatever helps you remember things, right?), disengaging from the back take attempt briefly. From here, you can either reset and take the back, or just hit the basic armbar from technical mount (keeping the Kimura grip, of course).

Rolling vs Half Guard

See results

That's a Wrap

A new world of positions opens up for you when you start using the more audacious rolling Kimura attacks. If you're more athletic than me (not much of a stretch!), you might like more high-flying versions of the moves shown here, but the basic ideas are going to be the same, and the two troubleshooting tips here are indispensable. Practice them by being intentionally loose with your partners so you get some experience dealing with them, and then you'll have them at the ready when the time is right!

© 2016 Andrew Smith


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