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Fine-Tuning the Basics: The Kimura
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Fine-Tuning the Basics: The Kimura

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Another one of the often-overlooked classic submissions is the Kimura. 

Perhaps it’s overlooked because, in the world of UFC, we don’t see that many successful kimuras.  Or perhaps it’s because newer techniques draw our attention away from the time-honored techniques.

Nevertheless, Kazushi Sakuraba has made a career out of the kimura.  And, in the video below, he goes through the finer points of the kimura from side control.

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Sakuraba begins in side control, but when he decides to go for the kimura, he lifts his body up after grabbing his opponent’s wrist so that all of his weight is pushing down on that wrist.  This makes it difficult for his opponent to muscle his wrist away from Sakuraba.

Sakuraba explains that pushing down on the wrist will naturally make his opponent’s shoulder lift.  However, if his opponent doesn’t raise his shoulder on his own, Sakuraba puts his arm against his opponent’s chin and puts a little pressure on the neck and trachea.  When his opponent resists this pressure, he’ll do so by raising the shoulder.

Once the opponent raises his shoulder, Sakuraba slips his right arm between his opponent’s shoulder and the mat and reaches for his own left wrist.

Sakuraba emphasizes how important it is to have space between his opponent’s shoulder and the mat.  This is because—as he completes the submission—it is more effective to keep his opponent’s arm away from his own body as you lift his forearm and wrist toward his head.  If you keep the arm close to the body, the kimura will not be as effective, especially against a more flexible opponent.

After Sakuraba demonstrates his preferred kimura from side control, Bernardo asks how Sakuraba deals with an opponent who is really strong and straightens his arm to resist the kimura.

In this case, Sakuraba goes for an armbar.  However, he has to change position slightly for the armbar.  Instead of being chest-to-chest with his opponent, Sakuraba must push forward so that his stomach is on his opponent’s chest and the center of his weight is over his opponent’s shoulder.

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When his opponent has straightened his arm, Sakuraba chooses to let go of the figure four lock, believing that this lock only makes the armbar more difficult.

Instead, Sakuraba uses his right arm, bent with the elbow in the mat, to hold his opponent’s arm in place.  


Then, Sakuraba completes the submission and secures the tap by bearing down with his left hand and putting all of his weight on his opponent’s wrist.

To watch Sakuraba’s entire kimura demonstration, see the video below:

Kazushi Sakuraba is a grappling legend with a unique style. Now, you can learn his favorite techniques, and get an edge on the competition! Check our his DVD Anti Jiu Jitsu, and get to work! Check it out here!

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