The Kimura or the double wrist lock is one of the most powerful submissions in grappling.

The submission became famous when Masahiko Kimura used it to defeat Helio Gracie.

The Kimura submission primarily attacks the shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint) by forcing excessive shoulder internal rotation.

The typical person has 70 degrees of internal rotation. The primary constraints against this motion are the posterior band of the inferior glenohumeral ligament, the axillary pouch, the glenoid labrum, and the 3 of 4 rotator cuff muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor).

How to make your Kimura more efficient:

1) The job of the rotator cuff is to stabilize the humeral head in the glenoid fossa while the prime movers move the arm. The rotator cuff muscles are at their weakest when the shoulder is abducted to 90 degrees. The supraspinatus is at a mechanical disadvantage to stabilize and the infraspinatus/teres minor have poor muscle activation at this position. Therefore, if the rotator cuff muscles are the dynamic constraints they will be inefficient for resisting this excessive motion.

2) If the average person only have 70 degrees of motion why can some people move much further? Compensation. When applying the submission they take off too much weight attempting to ‘crank’ the arm. This allows other parts of the body to move: thoracic rotation, scapular rotation or elbow flexion. So while they are applying force what they are really doing is bleeding energy and being inefficient with their movements. Isolate their motion to the glenohumeral joint and minimize their back elevating from the ground.

3) To ensure you are attacking the glenohumeral joint with your movement make sure to keep the elbow bent at 90 degrees. This allow you to use the wrist control as a lever to focus energy on your intended target, the shoulder, instead of your energy going into the humerus bone or the elbow.

In my next post I’ll discuss what structures are attacked with ‘faulty’ Kimura submission.

Guest post by Dr. Mike Piekarski, DPT