North South Kimura: Attacks and Escapes

The ground is my ocean, I’m the shark, and most people don’t even know how to swim.
– Carlos Machado

This is one of my favourite BJJ quotes. Those who haven’t trained ground fighting before aren’t just unaware of how to grapple; they instinctively do the wrong things, like giving up their back or sticking out their arms. In grappling, we first learn to swim, to defend and escape submissions. Then, with time, we become the sharks.

The North South Kimura

This version of the kimura is one of my favourite submissions. Instead of using your chest to apply top pressure like a kimura from side mount, the north south kimura involves rolling your opponent to their side and sitting on their head and shoulder. Using your legs to pin the free arm and pinch the upper body, this position provides great control, multiple attacks in addition to the kimura, and major discomfort for your opponent.

Swim (Defend and escape)

Kurt Osiander takes us through defending and escaping the north south kimura.

Be the shark (Attack)

In this video, Kris Kim of Yongsan BJJ examines attacking the north south kimura. He covers some important details on breaking your opponent’s grip to finish the submission and an alternate choke from the kimura setup. I was recently shown the grip detail for the choke option and found it to be a strong control position; you can go for the choke, re-adjust for the kimura, or even switch to an armbar.

If your opponent has a really good grip on his own pants or deep in his thigh to stop the kimura, this modified option, demonstrated by Flow Martial Arts, is very useful. I’ve seen other versions that use a slightly different grip, but the key is to create compression in the entire shoulder complex. Without any slack or room to move the arm, this shoulder lock sets in fast. I’ve also seen this modified kimura without the knee posted up, from a baseball slide type position using the hip to maintain pressure.