This week we will be working top side control, and a great attack from this position is the kimura. This post will cover this attack positioning in detail, but make sure to hit the mats this week to try it for yourself!

Understanding the Kimura

The Kimura is a joint lock that targets the shoulder joint. It’s named after Masahiko Kimura, a legendary judoka who famously used it to defeat Helio Gracie, one of the founders of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. From top side control, the Kimura offers a high percentage submission opportunity while providing excellent control over your opponent.

Setting Up from Top Side Control

  1. Establish Solid Side Control: Before going for the Kimura, ensure you have a stable top side control position. Your chest should be heavy on your opponent’s chest, with your hips low and knees wide for a solid base.
  2. Secure the Wrist: Begin by isolating your opponent’s far arm. Use your hand to grip their wrist firmly, ensuring your thumb is positioned on top for better control.
  3. Slide into Position: With your grip secured on their wrist, slide your body down towards their hips, keeping your weight heavy on them to prevent any escape attempts.
  4. Trap the Arm: As you slide down, use your free hand to trap their arm by placing your elbow on the mat just above their elbow. This prevents them from retracting their arm and defending against the Kimura.
  5. Lock in the Kimura Grip: With their arm trapped, reach under their arm and grab your own wrist, forming the classic figure-four grip. Your opponent’s arm should now be pinned behind their back, with their elbow bent at a ninety-degree angle.
  6. Apply Pressure Gradually: Once you’ve secured the grip, apply pressure by lifting their elbow slightly off the mat while keeping their wrist pinned. This creates immense shoulder torque, forcing your opponent to submit or risk serious injury.

Finishing the Kimura

  1. Control the Opponent’s Body: To maximize control and leverage, ensure your body positioning is optimal. Keep your chest heavy on their chest and maintain a low, stable base to prevent any counterattacks.
  2. Rotate Their Shoulder: With the Kimura grip locked in, rotate your opponent’s shoulder in the direction opposite to their thumb. This puts tremendous pressure on the shoulder joint, increasing the likelihood of a submission.
  3. Mindful Application: As with any submission, apply the Kimura gradually and with control. Communicate with your training partner and release the pressure immediately upon their tap to prevent injury.

Drill, Drill, Drill!

Like any technique in BJJ, mastering the Kimura requires consistent practice. Incorporate drilling sessions into your training regimen, focusing on fluid transitions from side control to the Kimura setup. Repetition builds muscle memory, allowing you to execute the technique seamlessly during live rolls.


The Kimura from top side control is a potent weapon in any grappler’s arsenal. Its versatility and effectiveness make it a must-know submission for practitioners of all levels. By understanding the mechanics and practicing diligently, you can add this formidable technique to your repertoire and take your BJJ game to the next level. So, grab a partner, hit the mats, and start mastering the Kimura today!