The Famous Kimura Lock
The Kimura lock is a well known shoulder lock submission. It has its roots in judo where it is referred to as ude-garami or “reverse arm entanglement”. It came to be known as a kimura lock during a famous match where judo practitioner Masahiko Kimura faced off against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu great Hélio Gracie with this technique. CLICK HERE for a quick overview of this technique from Rener Gracie.
It is a very powerful submission technique that generally places pressure on the shoulder joint. However, depending on how it is executed the pressure from the lock can be focused on the elbow joint or even upper arm bone. This move should be practiced with caution because of the threat it poses to the arm if pushed too far accidentally.
This kimura lock gains its power from being able to rotate the arm behind the back and push on the arm gaining a mechanical advantage from leverage. The rotation of the arm behind the back and up is what puts pressure on the shoulder. The pressure on the elbow and upper arm bone come more from pushing and putting force through the arm using your own arm as a kind of fulcrum. And here is a video showing the Kimura’s potential
The Simple Set-up from Side Control
This lock is performed from the side control position. In a good side control position you are at an ninety degree angle to your opponent with your hips low one arm secured behind the opponent’s head and the other underneath his far side arm. This gives you good control of the opponent and puts you in a relatively safe position.
To start the set up for the kimura you need to get control of the far side arm. You need to release the arm securing the head and hook it over the shoulder and underneath the far side arm. This arm is used to take control of the opponent’s elbow and push the opponent’s arm into his body.
Your other arm takes control of your opponent’s wrist to give you control of the arm. Then the arm you have hooking underneath is used to grab your own wrist. This completes the kimura grip and gives you great control over your opponent’s arm. Your head side leg can be extended out and planted, while keeping your other leg bent and against your opponent. This can provides a more secure base while focusing on securing the opponent’s arm and in completing the submission.
To complete this kimura lock the arm needs to be separated from the body to gain leverage over it. If the grip is secure your opponent will probably know what is coming next and quickly try not to let you do this. By forcefully lifting his arm upwards then away from his body and to the mat you can break the strength of his arm holding itself down easier.
Finishing “Gracie Style”
Once you separate your opponent’s arm from his body you switch your grip on his arm. Your hand hooking under and grabbing your wrist switches to your opponent’s wrist and your other hand us used to push on the opponents wrist and apply more pressure.
To finish this kimura lock you sit back, rolling your opponent into you and exposing his back. Then the arm is forced towards the opponent’s back while one arm pulls and one arm pushes, rotating the arm and pushing it backwards.
The video below is a video demonstration of this style of kimura from side control. It also shows a sweet setup for this submission from a standing position, i think some serious training is needed before just anyone could use that in a fight though.