'Offside' Kesa Gatame: Another Unorthodox BJJ Position

Today I want to look at another unorthodox position. It’s so unique that – to the best of my knowledge – there aren’t any formal names for it. For now I’m calling it the “Offside Kesa Gatame”, because it resembles normal Kesa Gatame except that you’re applying it on the ‘wrong’ side of your opponent’s body.

The first couple of times I ended up here were complete accidents, as I was frantically trying to hold down a bucking opponent. At that time I had no clue that I was actually in a position with submission potential.

Since then I’ve been formally shown this position by two separate instructors – it’s one of Erik Paulson’s favorites, and also the late Carlson Gracie showed it a seminar he did in Vancouver back in 2005

I can guarantee you that 99% of grapplers caught in Offside Kesa Gatame will be taken completely by surprise. This can give you a huge advantage, because your opponent will often do the wrong thing to get out and give you an easy submission.

When you’re applying Offside Kesa Gatame you trap your opponent’s head and FAR arm (instead of his near arm). His head is elevated off of the ground by resting on your thigh.

The photo at the top of this post shows the positioning of my legs (spread wide) and my right arm (trapping his head and left arm). I’ll tell you more about the positioning of my other arm in a minute…

But first I’ve gotta tell you something very important…

The big danger of Offside Kesa Gatame is getting bridged over backwards.In order NOT to get bridged I normally do TWO things

  1. I keep my legs spread very wide apart. If your feet are close together then you’re going to go for a ride, straight to the bottom
  2. I keep my weight forward. That’s why – in the picture just below – my head is down and I’m grabbing my shin with my hand.
Offside Kesa Gatame fully applied with the weight FORWARD
(note how Stephan is grabbing his own shin)

Once you shut down the possibility of getting bridged over backwards he may still manage to escape by squirming, but the chances are that you’ll still be on the top in some variation of side control.

You can slap Offside Kesa Gatame onto your opponent in a number of ways.

The most common entry is probably when you have Side Mount on your opponent with his far arm underhooked. There are other entries as well though – my most recent discovery is how to surprise your opponent by switching to this position from an under-over grip on this back when you don’t have the hooks in yet.

Once you’re in Offside Kesa Gatame there are a variety of very effective armlocks and chokes available to you, most of which keep you in the top position.

As I alluded to earlier you can also end up here completely by accident. Even if you have no intention to make this a bread and butter position, then at the very least you should know how to transition back into a more familiar top position.

So give this position a try. Start with isolating Offside Kesa and work on maintaining it with a semi-cooperative training partner. If you like it then begin incorporating it into your sparring.

I don’t feel the slightest bit sorry for your opponents when you start busting this move out on them – it’s their punishment for not reading this blog and being subscribed to the Grappling Tips Newsletter!

If you’re interested in finding out more about this position, as well as the entries, transitions and attacks that lead out of it, check out my instructional book and video package called Unorthodox Positions and Attacks.

This is my go-to archive of favorite strategies and techniques that I use when facing those opponents that are tough to tap out with ‘conventional’ attacks.

Comment on this page with Facebook