side control

Counter Armbar

I know I wouldnt want to be caught in a Carlos Newton armbar

I know I wouldnt want to be caught in a Carlos Newton armbar

The arm bar is an extremely versatile submission in general. There are variations of it that can  be performed from a host of different positions. In general the arm bar gains its notoriety from really just how simple it is. In a fight, especially mixed martial arts, you are constantly using your arms to try and attack your opponent. This means that there is a lot of time when a fighter is focused on using his arms to attack and not deffending them, the perfect time to sneak in for an arm bar. 

This particular arm bar setup was used by Carlos Newton in a  fight against Kazuhiro Kusayanagi. He finds himself on top in a side control position and is immediately being hit with a Kimura attempt. Instead of letting the opponent finish what he started Newton, looking completely calm and under control, quickly made his opponent pay for this.

The Setup

The setup for this specific arm bar is very unique and pointed towards a specific situation. First though is that you are in side control position on your opponent. Once in this side control we are going to assume that the opponent is a Kimura lover and goes in for his submission attempt.

The Kimura is a shoulder lock submission that can be equally as quick as an arm bar if you get sloppy with your appendages. From the side control position your opponent will need to bring your arm up and over your back though which is not always very easy to do. This small gap of time in between when he isolates your arm and when he completes the submission is your time to strike, don’t be late though.

The Counter

The beginning is the do or die situation in the technique. submit or be submitted. To reverse this kimura and bring the hurt to your opponent is technically not very hard but practically not nearly as easy to finish as Carlos Newton makes it look.

First DO NOT let yourself get submitted. Next, your free hand is planted on the opponent’s hip and used as a pivot point as well as a means to separate yourself from your opponent’s body. From here speed and precision of movement are key to switching your position successfully for the finish.

To complete the arm bar you need to be on the other side of your opponent. To do this you walk your hips around on the head side of your opponent. The center of your hips should end up right behind the shoulder of the opponent. One leg is placed over the opponent’s head/neck to keep in pinned down against the mat. The other leg is left bent with the foot/shin pressing into the opponent’s side and up under his armpit.

From here all that is left to do is hold the arm to the body and raise the hips up to finish the submission.

Intangible Factor

There is certainly an intangibility factor to completing this submission. You could look at it and drill it until the cows come home. During a real match anything is possible and this move has a lot of variables and moving around. Also this is a counter move so by nature there is risk involved, for example if you mess up and the opponent simply finished  his submission. If you are going to attempt this move it needs to be done quickly, powerfully, precisely, and with confidence to finish successfully.

Here is a video with a technical explanation of this techique



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

The Side control Position

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.