Kesa Gatame in Judo
There’s a pinning position in Judo known as ‘Kesa Gatame’ (which translates to ‘scarf hold’ in Japanese)
In a Judo competition a 20 second holddown wins you the match, so Judo competitors often develop fiercely powerful pins. And Kesa Gatame (aka the ‘scarf hold’) is one of the most classic Judo pinning positions.
Kesa Gatame is essentially a headlock on steroids: you wrap one arm around his head, control his near arm with your other arm, and then splay your legs widely facing his head.
This makes for a very powerful pin that can literally make you gasp for breath. It’s finished a LOT of Judo matches and should NOT be underestimated!
Kesa Gatame in BJJ
BJJ originally came from Judo, and many of the classic BJJ pins, chokes, and jointlocks can be tracked back to early 20th century Judo (especially if you’re looking at the groundfighting sections of old judo books).
Despite Kesa Gatame being a mainstay in Judo groundwork, it isn’t taught in very many BJJ classes.
The common perception in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that it’s too easy to have your back taken if you use Kesa Gatame to pin someone. But as someone who has used it successfully in many sparring sessions against quality opponents and in competition, I’m here to tell you that, used correctly, it’s very hard for someone to take your back from here.
And it can be a TERRIBLE position for your opponent.
In fact many of your opponent’s instinctive escape attempts will set you up perfectly to tap them out with chokes, armlocks and even leglocks.
In the video below Judo black belt and national champion Kathy Hubble shows how she uses Kesa Gatame when she competes in BJJ tournaments. I think many people will find the floating arm detail very useful!
Check out the video here:
More Kesa Gatame Submissions and Related Positions for BJJ
As I mentioned above, Kesa Gatame is one of my favourite attacking positions, largely because most opponents have no idea how to defend it properly.
If you know how to use it correctly then you’ll have a totally unfair advantage.
This position, and the associated entries, submissions and transitions are covered in detail in my Unorthodox Positions and Attacks Package.
In this instructional you’ll ALSO learn how to efficiently apply related positions like Offside Kesa Gatame and Reverse Mount to easily dominate and submit you opponent.
This DVD and ebook combination covers over 30 entries, submissions and techniques that you can add to your game right away!