4 Mar 2020

Review: Reverse Kimura System (closed guard series) by Drew Weatherhead

The Reverse Kimura is an instructional created by black belt Drew Weatherhead, owner of the very popular BJJ humor Instagram site Because_Jitsu. I personally use the reverse kimura quite a lot whenever I am playing half guard or closed guard but Drew’s tips have helped me convert what was once a bit of a stalling grip into something far more attack oriented.

Available at: www.reversekimura.com
Free trial: Yes sign up to receive 3 free lessons from the set
Price: $79USD
Number of techniques: 36 chapters
Jump to chapter? Yes
Downloadable? No

Drew Weatherhead is an interesting chap. He’s the creative genius behind Because_Jitsu the hilarious BJJ meme channel on social media. But he’s also a BJJ black belt and owner of his own academy in Alberta Canada. Judging from this instructional and his many free to view videos on Youtube, he’s a very good instructor too. So it was no surprise to see how much I enjoyed viewing and learning from this, his first instructional to buy, The Reverse Kimura From Closed Guard.

For me, the reverse kimura is a grip hold that I play with a lot, especially from half guard but also closed guard. I like it because it really messes with your opponent’s centre line, their posture and their ability to open up your guard. But what I haven’t really been doing is progressing from this grip towards hitting sweeps, back takes or submissions…until now that is.

In the opening fundamentals chapter, Drew explains how to hold the reverse kimura, surprisingly it's not exactly like the regular kimura.

Chapter listing and production notes
Fundamentals - Setting up the grip
Fundamentals - the one arm or cheater grip
Fundamentals - Trouble shooting the entry
Ranges of use - Middle range use
Ranges of use - Close range use
Ranges of use - Long range use
Common reactions - Stripping the cross wrist grip
Common reactions - Straightening the arm
Common reactions - Combat base
Common reactions - Pull back to the side
Common reactions - Try to stack you
Common reactions - Pull straight back
Common reactions - Force themselves to square up
Close range - Peel over to back take
Close range - Pull over back take
Close range - Hip bump
Close range - Flower roll
Close range - Scissor sweep
Close range - One arm kimura
Close range - Twister Wrister
Close range - Side arm triangle
Close range - loop choke
Close range - rolling bow and arrow choke
Middle range - box lock
Middle range - slicer
Middle range - omoplata
Mixed range - sumi gaeshi sweep
Mixed range - Mir lock
Long range - Roll over armbar
Long range - Triangle
Long range - Far side armbar
Long range - Baratoplata
Long range - Meat hook arm stretch
Long range - Carnie
Long range - Darc-o-tine
Final thoughts.

Audio quality is excellent. Drew uses a lavalier mic so his vocal instruction is caught very clearly while performing moves on camera. You do hear the odd muffle noise as the gi material rubs against the mic but it’s a minor observation. The visual is excellent too and I especially love the picture-in-picture box. Whenever Drew needs to show an aspect of the technique which falls out of view, the camera angle switches so the main picture shows what he is doing while the PIP part shows the other side. It’s all edited seamlessly and without interruption. Drew himself keeps the verbal delivery short and succinct – no lengthy monologues and over-explanations – just the right amount of delivery. I also really like how each chapter begins by showing the whole technique before he begins to break it down and explain things. This is the same format as David Avellan in his excellent Kimura Trap series. It means when you need to go back to stuff you’ve watched already, you don’t have to fast forward through 10 minutes of stuff just to get to the technique recap.

The 'Twister wrister' is a neat little surprise submission. Notice also the cool picture-in-picture inset.

Technique highlights
If you’re fairly new to BJJ then I think this instructional is perfect for you. It is just a way to grab and hold onto your opponent’s arm from the closed guard. There’s no big trick or hard to learn part to it. But the key tip that Drew showed in NOT connecting your hands together (ie as you would for a true kimura grip) was a very big help to me when I was testing out his techniques in sparring. Using the grip patterns he suggested helped me keep hold of the reverse kimura for longer and I was able to transition to subsequent positions with greater success.

This set is roughly divided into three phases of the reverse kimura – short range grip, middle range and long distance variants. Each ‘version’ of the reverse kimura offers its own advantages and disadvantages and to be fair, which variant you get to use will often be dictated by how your opponent reacts. For me, the middle range and longer range were more common in sparring that the tighter close range version.

I used the reverse kimura exclusively in every sparring round for a whole week (4 sessions). The initial grip was very easy to get – often my opponent wasn’t aware I was setting it up and when they did realise they found it hard to extract their arm (again, thanks to the tip in the opening chapter of this set). I observed that for most of my training partners, the grip led to a lot of activity where they were trying to extract their arm or find a way to prevent my subsequent technique. All this effort meant they were defending and not trying to escape.

The specific techniques I found that worked best for me during my week’s experiment were the basic back takes and the rolling armbar. The latter was a surprise to me because I don’t normally get this to work normally but I was able to hit it again and again, all thanks to the way Drew explained the grip and arm switch patterns involved.

The rolling armbar from the reverse kimura was a fun move that I used quite a lot.

Final thoughts
Sometimes simpler techniques (and the reverse kimura is very simple) might get overlooked by more advanced and trendy ones. But the reverse kimura is so solid and easy to use that’s it is well worth everyone adding to their arsenal. At the very least, it offers the user another grip to use when playing closed guard as opposed to the rather predictable collar and sleeve grip.

In this instructional Drew pretty much covers all the cool things you can do with it and all the likely reactions you’ll get from your opponent. I’m keen to see if he will add more to the website – perhaps reverse kimura from half guard and also similar related techniques such as the Great White Grip (from Kit Dale) or the two-on-one grip from butterfly guard (ala Marcelo Garcia) or even the wrestler’s Russian Tie. For now, at the very modest cost of $79USD, you’ll get an excellently taught instructional that is loaded with techniques you can use with success the very moment you try them next class.


About the Author


Author & Artist

Meerkatsu is the artist name for BJJ black belt Seymour Yang.



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