When it comes to BJJ submissions, it seems that every seasoned black belt out there has a variation of a move (or more) that’s unique to them. In certain cases, it can just a simple little detail that completely changes the move. In others, people introduce modifications from other grappling martial arts like catch wresting to double the effectiveness of creating BJ submissions. Some of these modifications are universally effective, while others will only work for the founders. One such variation, that falls under the universally effective submissions is the Mau Mau Kimura.
Robson Mau Mau Lima is a very interesting BJJ character, and he definitely has one of the keenest grappling minds in the sport. The Brazilian is constantly innovating, but few of his things come even close to the success of his Mau Mau Kimura variation. The GF Team legend has used his crazy signature move to secure plenty of victories. In fact, you could argue that he has fixed several drawbacks a “regular” Kimura has. Moreover, he provides options for Kimura hunting from positions not usually associated with this submission. What’s not to love?
Who Is Mau Mau?
Robson Lima is a Brazilian BJJ black belt under Julio Cesar and comes from the infamous Oswaldo Fadda lineage. In other words, he comes from the non-Gracie side of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, popularized by Luis Franca, a different student of Mitsuo Maeda.
Born as Robson de Lima Rodriguez, he got the nickname Mau Mau in relation to a Brazilian soap opera character who wore a headband, just like Robson did in training. Of course, the nickname stayed with him, and today is the synonym for a very effective Kimura variation developed by a BJJ world champion.
In his early days, Mau Mau trained Capoeira in his native Rio de Janeiro, which opened up the door to Jiu-Jitsu when he was 14. He trained under a few different instructors at the beginning, before ending up with Luiz Roberto Delvivo, who influenced him massively. As a blue belt, Mau Mau started training at Gama Filho (GFT) and he started competing a lot, on two sides of a 4-year hiatus. In fact, it was after his hiatus and some health issues that Mau Mau really burst on the competition scene.
A black belt since 2012, Mau Mau started establishing himself as the man to beat in the BJJ competition scene. He also got to teach in the Boston Academy of his master Julio Cesar. HE not only managed to turn Boston into the headquarters of the GF Team outside Brazil but also managed to conquer a No-Gi world title and 6 Pans NO-Gi titles, along with countless other IBJJF tournament victories. During that time, he also became famous for the Mau Mau Kimura, a variation that is still effective to this day. In fact, it may just be more effective in modern Jiu-Jitsu than it was back then.
A Few Common Kimura Issues
Before we go on to the Mau Mau Kimura in detail. Let’s talk about a few issues people usually run into with the regular Kimura. The Kimura lock is an extremely versatile hold, that can work as a submission, a position, and even a transitioning checkpoint. Check out this piece on the Kimura Trap System to learn more about the different ways you can use a Kimura grip in Jiu-Jitsu.
However, when it comes to the submission aspect of the lock, people usually run into a few common issues. The first one is, dealing with the defensive grip. Whenever an opponent grips their own belt or Gi, they’re not really helping themselves as those are moving objects that can travel along with their wrist. However when they grab palm to palm their own sleeve r their leg, breaking the grip to finish the lock can become a real hassle.
Also, another thing that people sneakily do, is keeping their shoulders to the ground, or even rotate slightly towards a Kimura side, when they’re on the bottom. This makes it impossible to get the arm behind their back and usually requires a transition into straight armlocks which are much less effective. However, as the game evolves, the Mau Mau Kimura variation is something we need to revisits, as it solves both these issues and a few more. For example, you can execute the Mau Mau Kimura from the mount, which is not something other Kimura variations offer. Moreover, it involves your entire body in the lock, which really increases the power of the Kimura, and makes it a great move for everyone, regardless of size or muscle mass.
The Mau Mau Kimura Variation
The Mau Mau Kimura is a variation that utilizes the use of your legs in order to finish the Kimura. However, unlike the Squirrel Lock, for example, which is only done with the legs, for the Mau Mau Kimura, you use all of your four limbs.
Mau Mau sets it up from the mount to make it all that even crazier. Actually, he uses a Kimura grip to end up in mount. Usually, this is not hard, as opponents will try and get you into the mount, given that the regular Kimura down’s t work from there. They’re trading points in order to escape a submission. Mau Mau likes to keep a hold of the Kimura grip, place his head on the mat, and pass one leg over the head of the opponent. Up to this point, things are easy.
Mau Mau then lifts his other leg, so that the foot is flat on the mats. At this point, the leg that went over the head is on the knee, with the shin under the opponent’s head. In easier terms, he is doing an S-mount on the arm, while maintaining the figure four Kimura grip at all times. Then comes the hardest part – rolling. To make sure you can complete the roll remember to roll towards the opponent’s feet and not their head.
The goal of the roll is to close your legs into a triangle. This is only possible when you’re on your back. From there, it’s a wrap, given that the opponent can’t roll, posture, or do any sort of defense. All you have to do is squeeze the triangle and you’ll even have space to twist the arm if you need to. Which you won’t, because the Mau Mau Kimura is extremely tight and painful.
The Mau Mau Kimura works from everywhere. If you want to really get into the nitty-gritty of it all, check out Mau Mau’s dedicated instructional on the subject. You can read a complete review of his “Kimuras As A Way Of Doing BJJ” right here. It is sufficient to say that you’ll discover all the Mau Mau Kimura secrets in there if I managed to tickle your imagination with his mounted Kimura breakdown. Have fun!