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Artechoke in a Can: Kimura Flow Drill

Last week, we introduced Artechoke in a Can, which jumped into the middle of a kimura module that I’ve been teaching in my no-gi class at Steel City Martial Arts in Pittsburgh. I teach in “modules” because exploring advanced concepts and applications of techniques is difficult without first establishing an understanding of the fundamentals, so when I pick a theme we build a foundation first and then add on to it, which allows my students to learn more than how to do a technique; they get the why as well. With each week building on the last, my students can also accumulate a significant amount of repetitions, which makes them more likely to retain and use what they learned than if it had a been a one-shot class.

In this particular lesson, we focused entirely on kimura drills, an active review of the high-points of what we had already covered. Rather than do more static drills, we did flow drills. To give you some context here, most of this thinking comes from Matt Kirtley of The idea is that jumping from static drilling to live application is difficult. To incorporate a new technique efficiently and effectively, you need to bridge that gap. Flow drilling is one level about static drilling. It forces students to chain techniques together into a sequence, making them more familiar with transitioning from one technique to another while easing them into trigger training.

Trigger training is stimulus-based drilling. When your partner does A, you react with B, but instead of the path always being the same, your partner chooses the trigger, forcing you to react appropriately. The flow drills incorporate triggers to a degree, which helps to start making a mental association between a specific scenario and a specific reaction. Again, this is nothing revolutionary, and I certainly did not invent it myself, but many jiu-jiteiros forget to use this type of drilling in their own training. The videos below will give you an idea of how to create a flow drill out of your current technical project, and they also provide a glimpse into some of the techniques that we worked on before Artechoke in a Can launched.

In the first drill, we emphasized positional transitions, coming out of the guard to take the top position. Most of these are basic transitions, yes, but the opportunities are too often missed in live rolling.

Next, we focused on our top transitions, specifically recognizing when to attack with a north south kimura (shoulder up, elbow exposed) and when to attack with a north south guillotine (shoulder down, elbow hidden, chin turned away). We also used this as an opportunity to refresh some of our back-take transitions.

Finally, we did a quick kimura to armbar drill from guard. This move is pretty simply, but it requires fairly advanced hip movement. I noticed that some of my students struggled with this transition when they first learn it, mostly because of the hip movement involved, so we came back to it to hone that coordination. The move itself is pretty useful as well.

Next week, we will do a final lesson on the kimura, consisting some of the more dynamic kimura transitions, and then we will move into an arm drag and back take module.

Artechoke in a Can is the online version of Marshal D. Carper’s weekly no-gi class. Marshal is a purple belt under Sonny Achille at Steel City Martial Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he is the author of The Cauliflower Chronicles and Marcelo Garcia’s Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Techniques.

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