Posts Tagged ‘ground hold’

How to do Kesa Gatame (Scarf Hold)

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Of all the ground holds, this is my favourite. Kesa gatame (scarf hold) looks as though you are doing virtually nothing, but, if applied correctly, is very strong and difficult to escape from. It can be applied with or without a gi as well, so lends itself to MMA, jiu jitsu and grappling matches. This article will cover the basics of this ground hold. The next article will cover a few escapes from kesa gatame.

If you and your partner are wearing gis and you are tori (applier of the technique):

1. You are on the ground at tori’s right side. Place your right arm across uke’s (the receiver of the technique) body and under his neck such that your forearm is flat against the floor. 

2. Grab the inside of his collar with your right thumb.

3. With your left hand, palm up, wrap your arm around his right arm, gripping the material of his gi in his armpit.  Your left arm must be above his elbow and tight against your body. If you are holding his arm correctly, he can bend his arm and cannot get out; incorrectly, he can bend his arm and pull it free.

4. Sit out on your right hip with your legs bent and relaxed. Your bottom leg (right) should be as high up toward his head as possible. Your left leg is about ninety degrees from the right.

5. Put your own head as close to the floor beside uke’s right ear as possible. This way he can’t place a hand or arm under your chin and peel you backward.

6. Put all your weight on the little toe of your right foot, the big toe of your left, and his chest.

That is the basic ground hold.  If uke moves, you move with him, keeping attached at the hip. Retain the leg positions, moving a little at a time. If you have to cross your legs to go onto your stomach, do so for as short a period of time as possible and then go back to being on your hip.

Variation 1 – An even stronger hold than this is to bring your right leg toward the hand which is holding his collar. Let go of his collar (Point 2 above) and grab your own knee. This is a very tight grip and works extremely well in no gi situations.

Also no gi: Instead of grabbing the material in his armpit – Point 3 above, you merely grab his muscles there. The important part here is to ensure that he cannot free his arm, so your arm holds his tightly above the elbow. Other than gripping uke’s body instead of the material, there is no difference. Click here to go to a video of Kesa Gatame with no gi.

Another variation for kesa gatame when wearing a judogi is the following: When you have moved your hand to grip the material in uke’s armpit (Point 3 above), continue moving your hand (still maintaining his arm tightly against your body) and grasp his far lapel instead of the armpit. When you sit out to complete the ground hold, the hold on the lapel compresses uke’s ribcage making breathing difficult. If you then grip your knee instead of putting your thumb in his collar, he’s toast. 

Kesa Gatame, or scarf hold, is named for the scarf-like look when tori’s arm wraps around uke’s neck. Since most of tori’s body isn’t touching uke’s it may look feeble. It is, however, extremely powerful and effective. You are immobilizing the head and shoulders of your opponent. Without his shoulders, he cannot lift himself off the floor. I’ve managed to hold down guys who outweigh me by about ninety pounds, so I know this hold works well.

Click here to go to a video of kesa gatame.

Click here to go to How to Escape from Kesa Gatame (Scarf Hold)  Escape #1


December 11, 2009

How To Do Kata Gatame – Shoulder Lock or Hold/Arm Triangle

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Kata Gatame is commonly called shoulder lock or hold or, in recent years, arm triangle. When applied, it can be painful, can choke and smother, and can result in a tap out.

The basic ground hold is straightforward:

To do a right-sided kata gatame,

1) Place your right arm under uke’s head at the same time as you take his right arm and move it across his face.

2) Put your head down beside uke’s, as close to the floor as possible, holding his right arm in place.

3) Grasp your left hand with your right. Do not interlace your fingers. Place your left hand palm up and put your right hand into it. (You can also do the hand clasp which involves the right thumb between the first and second fingers of the left hand – a very strong grip.)

4) Bring your right knee up to his waist.

5) Post your left leg out straight (on your toes) about 90 degrees from uke’s body. The higher up toward his head you can get your leg, the less likely he is to be able to escape. Make sure that your butt is low to the ground. If you need to flatten your right leg, do so, but without moving the knee from the waist of your opponent. The objective is to hold your opponent securely and still have as much of your own body weight away from him to ensure that he cannot topple you.

6) Take your right arm and torque it such that the side of your wrist bone is jutting into his spine under his neck. This is where the pain comes in.

7) Maintaining a strong grip with your hands and arms, move your arms together toward the left just a few degrees and move your body forward into uke to tighten the hold.

Uke’s own right arm aids in blocking the carotid artery on the right side of his head. Your right bicep will block the left carotid. On occasion, you might find that uke cannot breathe because his arm is covering his mouth and nose.

If uke manages to move a bit to attempt an escape, move your body, changing leg positions if need be, but once you have control again, go back to the correct position.

Kata Gatame is one of the first ground holds we learn in judo and one of the most powerful.

Click here to go to our Traditional Kata Gatame video

Click here to go to our video showing a transition from Kesa Gatame to Kata Gatame


December 2, 2009