One of my favorite submissions and one of the first ones that you learn when you begin training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the Kimura armlock. It is one of the first submissions because of its simplicity however just because it is easy to learn doesn’t mean that it isn’t effective. It is one used at high levels of MMA and BJJ and can be devastatingly successful if applied using the correct mechanics and technique to set it up.
The Kimura, also called the reverse figure-four, the ude-garami in Judo, chicken wing, or reverse keylock, can be applied from side control and from the closed or open guard. Its application is simply done by grabbing the opponent’s wrist with your same side hand and your other arm passes behind your opponent's elbow and returns grabbing your wrist. By controlling the opponent's body and base, you crank the arm away from your opponent, putting pressure on the shoulder joint.
The Kimura was named after the judoka Masahiko Kimura, who defeated Helio Gracie in 1952. Helio had to first defeat Kato, another judoka in Kimura’s group to then be able to challenge Kimura himself. Helio lasted 15 minutes and eventually was defeated as a result of Carlos Gracie throwing in the towel, signaling Helio’s defeat. Kimura however was impressed with Helio’s ability, especially since he was much smaller and weaker. Kimura invited Helio to teach in Japan and after 60 years the armlock is still known in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as the Kimura in honor of this match between Masahiko Kimura and Helio Gracie.
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