Saturday, September 03, 2016

Dave Camarillo seminar - Kimura grip, armbar

Dave Camarillo is a black belt in both judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and a high profile trainer of MMA fighters, including a number of UFC veterans. He also consults on defense and tactical matters to a variety of police and military organisations.

A bio of Dave from his Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu website

The two hour seminar was on the kimura grip, setting up the far side armbar, and then attacking with the Kimura or straight armbar. It was held at Woolloomooloo PCYC on Saturday 3 September 2016.

The Kimura Grip

To practise, start with your role player* on his R side with you on his L. Get an underhook on his L arm with your L. Grip his L wrist with your R hand, but reach around his forearm as much as you can so you can twist it strongly back towards you. This helps "compact" his elbow joint to increase control when the Kimura grip is finalised. Avoid gripping with the thumb as the leverage is actually decreased.

* Dave dislikes the term "partner" for the person on whom techniques are practised. He prefers the term role player, as this implies the other guy has a potentially active role to play, rather than just lying there like a corpse.

Place your R wrist on top of your L so the wrist bones cross. You do not really need to grip your R arm with your L hand. Push down with both hands, try to push his elbow away from you slightly, but keep his hand close to the centre of his chest. There should be considerable pressure inside the elbow joint, like a bicep slicer. You are unlikely to damage the arm, but he should feel seriously uncomfortable. Dave's kimura system tries to inflict this discomfort all the time and from every position. He warned us that our arms would hurt after the seminar. And they did. He also said that his students develop a tolerance to this discomfort.

Your wrists should both be bent forward, not back. This feels and is stronger.

You should be able to stand up and drag him around the mat, have him struggle to escape, etc. and still keep him under control by keeping pushing your arms straight, and keeping his hand in the centre of his chest. And this was a drill we practised in the seminar.

Side control

Dave said he believes that side control is the most powerful pinning position, superior to mount or back control, both of which in his opinion are easier to escape from.
Dave emphasised the importance of the "battle zone", the space between the bottom guy's near hip and the top guy's knee, arm or hip controls. His goal is to use the frames of his near elbow or knee to occupy the battle zone and set up an escape, to guard being an obvious one. Our task on top is to occupy and monitor the battle zone, denying his ability to employ those frames.

Also vital is to understand we are trying to attain, and keep a "pin" here, completely controlling the position. If we have do not have a solid pin, we are unlikely to achieve a submission. If our pin is super strong, the opponent's own increasing desperation to escape may present submissions to us.

Dave talked about a spectrum of control, from a perfect rock solid pin at one end, to a scramble to the other. He said that if he feels he is losing a pin and it is heading toward a scramble, he wants to be the one to initiate the scramble, thus staying ahead of the game. We should avoid having any emotional attachment to a position, lest we try too hard to "hang on to a sinking ship" and lose. We just move on to the next position and let the failed one go.

"Avoiding emotional attachment to a position" sounds very Zen and a bit spacey, but any BJJ guy will know exactly what is meant.

We discussed this specifically with regard to the elbow push escape. Dave said that to resist the elbow push actually gives the guy the point to push off which makes the escape work. Instead Dave will go with the elbow push and just move around to another control.

Getting the far side underhook

We have top of side control on the guy's R. Our R knee is occupying the battle zone next to his R hip. We hide our R foot by bringing it underneath us. Our L foot is active, we are up on the inside of the foot and using active toes. Our R knee stays light on the mat so it can easily follow his hip if he tries to shrimp away, our L foot being the engine that drives that movement.

The position we want is to underhook his L arm with our R.

If you are passing guard or whatever and the opportunity for getting the underhook is there, grab it. The rest of the discussion assumes you are not quite this lucky.

If he is not too tight we may be able to place our R elbow on his chest, and circle our R forearm anticlockwise between out bodies to underhook his L arm. Cup his L shoulder/bicep tight, we can also use our head to control his lower L arm. The L arm should be on the far side. It can be used as a post. If we want a really tight control we can grab his belt with our L hand, or even roll him slightly toward us and grab his belt behind his lower back. This is a very strong control which makes it very hard for him to effectively engage his posterior chain to bridge, etc.

If his elbows are in tight, with his hand in the prayer or "scared little girl" position, switch our base towards his head, grab his L elbow or sleeve, pull it up and use our R hip to kill his R elbow control on our L hip. Switch back and you have then effectively killed his near side arm. Hold his L wrist with your R hand. You could try pushing it to the floor for an Americana, but don't. Instead, hold his hand in place and weave your head under his forearm, so it ends up next to your R ear. You now have a far side underhook on his L arm.

You now have a solid pin position. Practice switching base towards his head and towards his feet and face down again. This is a position you can and should be ready to return to if the moves toward the submission fail. Get very comfortable in getting this position, and in returning to it from the Kimura control discussed below. Remember, the pin is what enables everything else.

Using the overhook to set up Kimura control

If you get the underhook, but he moves his L forearm in front of your face so he can push on the left side of your head, join your hands in a Gable grip under his arm, R palm up, no thumbs. Keep your L elbow on the mat for base, but pull your hands through strongly so that your R elbow ends up next to you R hip. Make sure your L elbow stays on the mat for base, and control. The R palm is up so that your hands form a "sled" so the joined hands will slide easily. Otherwise, your R fingers would possibly snag on him as you pull the hands through.

First, set your feet. THEN move to front control. Your torso should be pressuring down hard so it and his arm move as one. Push his arm across his body and use that pressure to roll him up on his R side, The pressure should cause his L forearm to come off your face, possible assisted by your L shoulder. Your knees go to the floor, your feet are splayed out and toes actively pressing in on him. There should be no space for him to move his arm at all. You can now set your grips for the kimura control. Neither knee should come up!

Don't try the submission yet! Practice getting from side control to here, then going back to side control, reclaiming the far side underhook from here. And repeat. Uchikomi. The pin and control are way more important than the submission.

Getting the Kimura grip from the far side overhook

From the side control position, set your legs first, always. R knee in the hip, L foot out past his head. Posture up and pull your R elbow to your R hip, bringing his L arm with it and pulling him up on his R side. Bring your L elbow to your hip, with his head in the way. It is vital to control his head and at the same time move it so you can bring your L knee over it to the floor. Strong pressure on his arm with your chest as you move on top, no space. Once you are consolidated here, back the pressure on his arm off just enough to slide your L arm under it and take your R arm out. From here you have arm position to apply the Kimura grip.

Don't try the submission yet! Practice moving from side control with the far side underhook to here, and back. Over and over. Uchikomi. The pin is vital.

Applying the Kimura

You have attained front control as above with the kimura grip. Rather then lifting up and turning, release the pressure just enough to move his L arm from his front to his back. Push his hand down behind his back toward the floor. You can turn anticlockwise and take your L knee off to get a better angle to apply force. Be ready to switch back to side control with the far side underhook if you start to lose it.


Obtain the kimura control from front control as above. Turn to your R and come up on your L foot, the L foot down toward his stomach. Stay on your L knee but turn your L lower leg out behind you, active toes for base. Sit down on your R hip with your R thigh atop his head like an S mount, thus keeping his head controlled. Your weight should be off your L leg, allowing you to take it over his stomach. You still have the kimura grip. And it should make his arm very uncomfortable.

His best defence is the "RNC defence", where his L hand grabs the inside of the R elbow, his R hand blocking the R leg, ideally pushing it off his head to escape.

You have the kimura grip. Go ninety degrees to him, cross your feet with the R foot on the bottom. That way he will find it harder to push that leg off his head. Rather than squeeze your knees, flare them out wide - use the outer thighs to control his head and hips. This Dave calls the SAP ,or Standard Armbar Position.

Practice various control positions from here.

The bridge - let go his arm and grab your R fist with your L hand. Lie back flat for base. Keep the pressure on him with your legs and slightly lift your hips for extra pressure.

Sit up and pull your R hand to your L hip with your L, getting "your hand in the pocket" as deep as possible. Post out with your L hand so you cant get rolled. Still keeping that bicep slicer pressure on his elbow.

With your hand in the pocket fall on your L hip and underhook his L leg. Grab your collar, grab the far pant leg, experiment with different grips.

Sit back up and post with your L. Drive your L arm under his forearm, use your R hand to drag your L hand through and put it in your pocket next to your R hip. Post on your R hand.

Grab your L fist with your R hand and sit back to another bridge.

Practice moving through all these positions. Keeping constant kimura pressure. Some people may give up the arm from sustained pressure.

One finish

Of many possibilities.

Get your L hand in your pocket and fall to the L hip, and underhook his L leg as above. Uncross your legs. Break his grip by pushing your R foot to the floor, and pulling his L elbow away from his torso with a twist to the R. Grab his thumb, adjust the angle if necessary. Dave says pushing your R foot on the floor for base to raise the hips is way more important than squeezing the knees together, and the latter tactic may reduce the power you can put into driving with the hips.

Dave gets the kimura from EVERYWHERE, including standing, it goes into throws, takedowns, chokes, getting the back, etc. He will pass guard and jump straight onto the guy's arm. Very powerful control with lots of options that takes many of his options away.

I would recommend a seminar or training with Dave Camarillo to anyone without hesitation. He has a deep understanding of Jiu Jitsu and a great teaching style, very easy to talk to.

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