Transition Techniques with Thiago Gaia


By Thiago Gaia

Kimura Lock To Triangle Choke

1) This move is used where Player 2 (top) is attempting to pass guard, and places his/her palm on the mat, presenting Player 1 (bottom) with an opportunity.

(2) Player 1’s right hand wraps around Player 2’s left wrist.

(3) Player 1’s left hand weaves behind Player 2’s shoulder to reach Player 1’s own right wrist.

(4) With the arms now forming the kimura lock, Player 1’s left-handed grip drives forward his/her right hand, attempting to complete the submission.

  • a. Where the submission is not achieved, Player 1 follows the steps
clockwise from top right: steps 1-4

(5) Maintaining the kimura lock, Player 1’s left foot draws to the outside of Player 2’s left arm.

(6) Player 1’s left foot hooks to the inside of Player 2’s left armpit.

(7) Player 1 creates leverage as his/her left leg pulls against Player 2’s shoulder, allowing Player 2 to draw closer in towards the opponent.

(8) Player 1 pivots on the shoulders to bring his/her right leg towards the outside, drawing the hips in towards the opponent.

(9) Player 1’s left leg drapes across Player 2’s neck, between his/her head and right arm.

(10) As Player 2 attempts to pull his/her right arm to escape the kimura grip, Player 1 bends his/her left knee to further draw in the opponent.

top l-r: 5, 6, mid l-r:7, 8, bottom l-r: 9, 10

(11) Player 1’s right hand wraps around his/her own left ankle, pulling in the foot.

  • a. Player 1’s left hand secures Player 2’s left arm against the chest, preventing the opponent from interfering with the triangle choke.

(12) Player 1’s right leg goes overtop the left, with the left foot in the crux of the right knee. Player 1 bends the knee to constrict the triangle choke around the opponent’s neck.

  • a. Once Player 2’s arm is tightly secured, Player 1’s left hand releases the arm and pushes Player 1’s own knee, intensifying the pressure of the triangle.

(13) Player 1 squeezes his/her thighs together while lifting the hips, intensifying the pressure of the opponent’s arm against his neck, achieving the submission.

  • a. Another finishing technical style is for Player 1 to place both hands on the back of Player 2’s head and pulls in to achieve the submission.
steps 11-13

Side Control To Arm Triangle

(1) The move is used when Player 2 is on the bottom, where he/she will likely attempt to lock Player 1 in guard or a triangle choke.

  • a. Player 1’s hands press against Player 2’s torso, which prevents Player 2 from regaining the guard as easily.

(2) Player 1 keeps his/her hands cupped while lifting the hips. Player 1 arches his/her back as the chest pushes Player 2’s legs forward, causing the opponent to land on his/her side.

(3) After Player 2 lands on his/her left side, Player 1’s left hand weaves underneath Player 2’s neck.

(4) Player 1 applies shoulder pressure to Player 2 if necessary to maintain him/her in position.

(5) Player 1 pushes on the opponent’s head with his/her right hand.

(6) Player 1’s left hand grips the inside of his/her own right bicep. Player 1’s left hand pushes against the opponent’s back to achieve the submission.

  • a. To intensify the submission, Player 1 should inhale deeply to expand the chest and constrict Player 2’s space.
top l-r: 1, 2, mid l-r: 3, 4, bottom l-r: 5, 6

Backpack To Reverse Triangle

(1) The move starts with Player 1 (back) in backpack position, his/her torso pressed up against Player 1’s back.

  • a. Player 1 makes a kimura lock by placing the right hand on Player 2’s left wrist. Player 1’s left hand weaves under Player 2’s left arm and wraps around his/her own right wrist.

(2) Player 2 will attempt to break the kimura lock using his/her right hand. To prevent this, Player 1 brings his/her right leg to the inside of Player 2’s right arm. Player 1 draws his/her right leg back against Player 2’s right arm, stopping Player 2 from moving the arm forward.

(3) Player 1’s hips shift to the left, and can also push off Player 2’s right hip to complete the shrimping movement.

  • a. Player 1’s left leg wraps around Player 2’s waist, with the left foot flexed against Player 2’s left thigh.
top: 1, bottom l-r: 2, 3

(4) Player 1 maintains the kimura lock pressed against Player 2’s chest until reaching a reclined position on his/her left side.

(5) Player 1 draws Player 2’s left arm up over Player 2’s head, maintaining the arm position.

(6) Player 1 draws Player 2’s left arm behind the opponent’s head, using the kimura lock to create the joint pressure that achieves the submission.

  • a. Where the opponent submits, the move is complete. If the opponent is able to escape and slide out of the backpack, Player 1 carries out the following steps.
top-bottom: 4-6

(7) If the opponent successfully escapes the kimura lock at some point during the above sequence, Player 1 must maintain control of Player 2’s left arm.

(8) Player 1 wraps his/her legs around the opponent in a triangle, isolating Player 2’s left arm.

(9) Player 1 achieves an armbar submission by drawing Player 2’s left arm into his/her chest. Player 1 lifts the hips to intensify the joint lock by ensuring that Player 2’s arm is fully straightened.

top left: 7, bottom left: 8, right: 9

De La Hiva Guard Escape To Heel Hook

(1) The move starts with Player 1 (standing) trying to pass Player 2’s guard.

  • a. Player 2 attempts a De La Hiva Guard, with the left leg hooked around the back of Player 1’s right knee.

(2) Player 1’s right foot takes a large step back and around, towards Player 2’s left side. This prevents Player 2 from also hooking Player 1’s left leg to attempt a takedown.

  • a. Player 1’s right hand cups around Player 2’s left knee while his/her right hand presses against the opponent’s abdomen.

(3) Player 1 draws his/her left foot alongside the right, bending both knees to squat down. Player 1’s knees squeeze together on either side of the opponent’s left leg.

top left: 1, bottom left: 2, right: 3

(4) Player 1 reclines onto the left elbow as his/her left leg presses against the torso to secure Player 2’s left foot under the armpit.

(5) Player 1’s hands cups together and draw in towards the chest, which brings in Player 2’s foot to achieve a Heel Hook submission.

top: 4, bottom: 5

Thiago Gaia is a Second-Degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blackbelt acclaimed for his achievements as both a competitor and a coach. He has won gold medals in top events such as World, Brazilian National, and Pan American Championships. Thiago is also an outstanding Mixed Martial Arts competitor with an 8-1 pro record, renowned for his ability to use Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to succeed both on the BJJ mat and the MMA ring.

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