So, to kick my 2 cents in on this.
Hon Kesa SEEMS to be less option rich. You have a couple of armlocks and a really solid pin available to you, but not much else. I've found that guys who have worked the position a lot (Judo blackbelts I've rolled with) will more or less shatter your rib cage just by sitting there, but once you get used to the pressure and realize that their have relatively few options to attack with it gets a lot easier to deal with the position and work to take the back. Because you have MORE TIME to work your way to the back under BJJ rules I think it lowers the value of the very strong pin that you get from Hon Kesa.
It's still a devestatingly powerful position, but it is not AS POWERFUL in BJJ as it is in Judo because of the rules difference. I think it regains some of that power in MMA or in any venue where strikes are allowed because it gives you a great opportunity to punch the **** out of your opponent.
For BJJ I have found that reverse Kesa gives you a lot of the same benefits of hon kesa, but you have transition options that are more valuable in BJJ. It's an easier transition to mount or KoB, and it gives you most of the same armlock attacks that hon kesa does. It's a weaker pin in my experience, but that may just be because the people who are the best at pinning have spent more time in hon kesa than in reverse.
So, Kesa as a generalized position is super strong and worth investing time in, but keep in mind what situation you are training for and try to focus your time on the variant that best fits your ruleset.
Very nice post !
Originally Posted by Kintanon
I think that if people will view Hon Kesa Gatame (and all the Kesa Gatame variants) as just another position to be able to use and defend, will be helpful.
It is fairly easy to transition to side control from Kesa Gatame. Even when uke tries to take your back, you can use that to transition and maintain control. Judo is known for it's solid pins (due as you rightly point out to our competition rule-set), but there are a whole range of transitions to learn as well. I used the ones I know when I go to BJJ classes,and they work fine, limited more by my skill level than anything else.
But BJJ of course has a LOT to offer regarding that, more than Judo in a lot of way, or I should say most people who know/teach Judo, myself included.
I think often beginners/intermediates see positions in terms of black and white (which is normal). We know it's not necessarily that way in reality, and the sooner one opens one's mind, the better.
As a fellow noob I find kesa quite useful. i tend to find it most when passing guard for side and they are trying to stiff arm me to prevent me getting around their hips (although even in mma sparring o-goshi to kesa is a trademark of mine).
If they don't fall for one of the subs it's still a good spot to make them burn some gas trying to escape before transitioning to side, north-south or top control depending on how they are escaping.
I also find that most BJJ guys I roll against don't know how to hold it properly and more often than not I get the rollover to side-mount to escape when they attempt it on me. So if nothing else it is worth learning it to prevent that.
Yup, a strong/skilled kesa will suck the breath (and will to live) out of you real quickly. I think part of the problem with kesa is the amount of people trying to use it that don't know what they are doing. As with any other control position, it is not all that effective if you are doing it wrong. But, as you learn to distribute your weight properly, and what parts of the hold are doing the actual controlling, it becomes a strong position of control with lots of options to transition into other positions or subs. Which is what the far more experienced grapplers in this thread have already said.
Originally Posted by Sang
I usually use kesa (in Judo, mind you) to get people to panic and open up for side choke/arm triangles. Because my kesa is good enough to get people flailing but not good enough to keep holding them there.
Obviously there is a risk of the back being taken (just look at Rousey vs Carmouche... Rousey has a much better kesa than I do, I am sure of that). But, when you are in proper position that risk is not as high as the "don't bother, you'll just get your back taken cuz I'm fucking Marcello Garcia" crowd seems to think.
I use Kg to readjust if someone manages to break my side control. That being said, I am a total newb to the grappling scene.