Educating MMA: The Kimura

Derek BedellAnalyst IApril 23, 2009

There are many techniques in MMA that give a fighter a distinct advantage.

Whether to finish your opponent or gain an edge, each technique is carried out with tactful skill and knowledge of the move. Many newcomers to the sport are blood thirsty or anticipating a knockout.

However, if these things don't occur, there are plenty of techniques to appreciate in MMA.

It's time to take a look at other remarkable forms of the sport that may be going a bit unnoticed to our casual MMA fan.

At UFC 97, we saw a technique used by Krystof Soszinyski to finish off Brian Stann in the first round.

As you saw Sozynski circling around the Octagon, he visually mimicked a limp/ inverted arm after his submission win.

It is the "Polish Experiments" favorite move and known to MMA practitioners and fans alike as the Kimura.

And you may be surprised how long it's been around and who it stopped first.

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, The Kimura lock (Gyaku ude-garami) is one of the most important submission methods. This move is found in other fighting styles and maybe referred to as a hammerlock, a chicken wing, or ude-garami.

The Kimura lock was named after Masahiko Kimura, who was one of the most well-known and respected Judo athletes of all time.

In 1951, while in Brazil, he fought a famous match against non other than Helio Gracie, the founder of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

The famous match lasted 13 minutes, which surprised Kimura because Helio Gracie was much smaller than him.

His winning move was an arm lock that ended the match abruptly.

Almost 50 years after that notorious match in Brazilian jiu-jitsu's history, the arm lock that defeated Helio Gracie was named the "Kimura Lock" to pay homage to Kimura's outstanding abilities and victories.

The Kimura lock is a very versatile move which can be applied from close guard, open guard, north-south position, and from the mount, but can additionally work from the side mount, half guard, half mount, turtle, standing, and even from the back.

Credit: Stephen Kesting, Grappling Magazine, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp. 1-20 (2002)

The Kimura is a punishing move that twirks the shoulder resulting in a separation if the opponent refuses to tap out. Torn ligaments, muscles, and extreme pain follow if a stubborn fighter is not knowledgeable on the damage it can cause.

The move is applied by grabbing the opponent's wrist with the hand from the same side while the opposite arm is put on the back side of your opponents arm.

You then form a figure-four by grabbing the wrist. Now that you have control, you push your opponents arm behind their back.

Once you have the technique applied and locked in, it is a mere moment before your opponent taps out or goes to the ER with a separated shoulder.

Either way, you gain a victory.

If a move can finish the late legend, Helio Gracie, it is a technique that is historic, powerful, and should be practiced by today's warriors of the cage.

Brian Stann found out first hand that the Kimura is devastating and extremely painful.

Considering it is a technique that can be applied in numerous situations, it is a move that needs to be looked at as top of the line, especially for those in the jiu jitsu/ MMA game. 

You have now been educated.  Now tap out!

Derek Bedell writes at  You can read the rest of the article here which covers all of MMA's top stories: