Kimura Attacks From the Bottom Half Guard: A BJJ Tutorial

Updated on September 17, 2016
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Andrew Smith is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs the BJJ Tutorial Encyclopedia here.

Kimura From the Bottom: A Tricky Proposition

When you attack the Kimura from the top (as evidenced by my previous tutorials on How to Pass the Half Guard Using the Kimura), the concept is relatively simple: grab the Kimura grip from the top, don't let go, and the improve your position until a submission presents itself to you. Being on the bottom, on the other hand, significantly complicates the above "rule", thanks to the re-Kimura and some other well known tricks. However, you can still make the Kimura a viable attack from the bottom by maintaining the distance and the angle of attack (two cornerstones of any jiu jitsu principle). Here are a few simple ways to get started attacking the Kimura from the bottom of half guard.

Scissor Half: Your Safe Place

In order to control the range, start by establishing defensive frames with your arms (completely straight, checking your partner's bicep and shoulder, so as not to allow them to crossface you). From here, you should be able to slide your knee in between your partner and you, creating a "scissor half guard" position. This top knee allows you to keep your partner away while you attack their arm. Next, reach across and open your partner's elbow, folding them forward slightly. Without losing contact, slide through for the Kimura grip on their far arm, making sure to use your thumbs and fingers in unison for maximum leverage (imagine that a drop of Superglue has been placed in between your index finger and thumb when using the Kimura grip). Now, ensuring that their arm is separated from their body, arch your back to extend your spine, ultimately pulling their shoulder nearly out of socket (stretching those ligaments to their limits). Finally, keeping the arm bent at 90 degrees, rotate your entire upper body to your left, finishing the shoulder lock. Make sure you keep the scissor or "knee shield" across their thigh during this time!

Framing for the Kimura
Framing for the Kimura

Reaction: Posture

Your partner is not very likely to sit there as you try to grab for the Kimura grip. If they are, more power to you - you can easily finish a basic shoulder lock described above. If, on the other hand, your partner attempts to posture up in order to get their arm free from the attack, this presents another very simple option for you: the basic hip bump sweep. Instead of locking up the Kimura grip, keep your left arm draped over their far shoulder, and post with your right hand on the mat. Now, just imagine that someone behind you is calling your name, and turn your head to look, simultaneously pushing your hips forward into your partner's chest, off balancing them backward. Just follow to the top position, and you can begin attacking the Kimura from half guard top we all know and love.

The Stepover From the Bottom

Another common reaction from your partner (almost certainly the most common as you deal with more and more experienced grapplers) is going to be to hide the arm you're attacking once you get the Kimura grip. They'll usually grab inside their thigh (pants grip if they are wearing a gi, or just hooking in there if not) or their stomach/lapel region. Start by thinking of the grip as an anchor of sorts, and just move around it. Remember, though - you need to control the range in order to prevent the dreaded re-Kimura, so extend your arms and hip out far to the side until only your right foot is left hooking in between their legs. From here, build a little momentum and pull yourself up and over with the grip, swinging your left leg over to their left hip. Now, just use the stepping and pulling ability you've just acquired to break their grip. A very simple, classic Kimura finish awaits you once the grip breaks.

Kimuras; bottom or top?

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Conclusion

If you've already practiced these, it may be beneficial to check out some of the more advanced Kimura attacks from half guard bottom. Remember: you have to maintain the distance and the angles of attack in order to be successful in attacking the Kimura, and when you're on the bottom, you have to be conscious of these things the entire time. Starting with the scissor half guard will give you an excellent, relatively safe base from which to start attacking. As always, please let me know how things are working for you, and have fun training!

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      Andrew Smith 16 months ago from Richmond, VA

      Brett, you shouldn't allow your arm to be away from your body if possible. Stacking isn't back, but have you seen my "re-Kimura" tutorial yet? That's much more complete.

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      Brett 16 months ago

      Andrew, how can you counter the stepover kimura? Am I supposed to be trying to stack, or completely disengage?

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