When we first wondered onto the mat our first time grappling, probably timid and a little afraid of the unknown, we likely learned what we consider now to be the “foundational moves” of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Riddled with uncertainty, we sat there either in our Gi or grappling shirt and shorts listening to our instructor. In a situation like that, it’s very easy for information to go in one ear and right out the other.
A move often overlooked and poorly prepared is the kimura. A man that knows the move inside and out, David Avellan, went in depth about the move when he and I had an interview recently.
Developing The Proper Grip Strength To Have An Effective Kimura
Every setup and technique in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has a fundamental aspect that you must follow every time! Whether if it’s proper arm placement for certain holds, or where your hips are when executing something specific, there is always something you to be aware of.
When it comes to the kimura, Avellan stresses the grip strength of a grappler as something you must really develop if you want the kimura to be a cornerstone move.
“The grip is everything,” David tells me. It may seem rather elementary, but when you break it down, it’s also something often overlooked. When thinking about going for the kimura, we normally rush to want to get a grip, and crank it for the finish, not even thinking about the mechanics or what goes into the hold prior to executing it to it’s fullest extent.
“Having a strong grip,” Avellan continued, “will change your game completely!”
Having inadequate grip strength will lead to you not being able to hold onto the kimura lock for long, and the golden rule of the kimura is to never lose the hold!
There are various ways a grappler can go about enhancing their grip strength, which was a unique approach that Avellan decided to take with his students, and make it a focal point in his curriculum. One of the many ways to enhance grip strength can be seen here.
How Angles And Body Positioning Can Make Or Break The Hold
What I love about the sport science aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu—and sports as a whole—is that each field calls for a dominant trait that would otherwise be overlooked and tossed aside in other sports. Each is unique and requires specific skills that wouldn’t always transfer into other sports.
As described above, grip strength is vital for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! A few ways in which Avellan goes about improving this with his students is he has them use hand grips, which they squeeze together—against resistance—that in turns builds their grip and forearm strength. Another popular exercise that he uses is towel pull-ups—simply throw a towel over a pull-up bar, and use that to lift your body upwards.
These all allow you grip strength to improve, while also opening up new dimensions of your game as well. Something that Avellan likes to use thanks to his grip strength is his motorcycle grip.
Once he applies the lock onto the wrist of his opponent, David will make a throttling motion inwards, twisting the wrist. When done properly, it looks similar to someone revving the engine on a motorcycle.
The point of this setup is that it will angle their arm to a certain degree. Usually when you go for the kimura lock, your opponent will try to rip their arm away and free it. If your grip strength isn’t up to par or your body positioning in inadequate, this can be a serious issue for you to deal with.
However, by using the motorcycle grip, your oppoenet will be altered just enough to the point where they will not be able to rip their arm backwards and free from the grip you have applied. By making the slight turn, you eliminate any kind of potential escape, forcing them to either have to try and muscle you up, or find a new way to escape.
All in all, there is plenty of ways to look at the kimura lock. Personally, I enjoyed Avellan’s take on it, as he is someone who uses it quite often and in an effective manner, and has even built off of the move with his kimua trap system.
If there is anyone that knows a thing or two about the kimura lock, it’s the man that they call David Avellan.
If you are interested in the full review of the David Avellan Kimura Trap? Look no further!