The Sakuraba-Style Standing Kimura
The first time someone showed me the standing Kimura attack I was pretty skeptical…
I was like, “yeah, that would never work, not in a million years!”
Whoops, was I ever wrong.
You see, shortly after I was introduced to that supposedly ‘useless’ technique, a Japanese fighter named Kazushi Sakuraba started used the standing
Kimura to tear a bloody swath through MMA world, besting a number of the very best jiu-jitsu guys fighting in Japan at the time.
Before Sakuraba, if you had told me that your gameplan for fighting a member of the Gracie family was to give him your back repeatedly and go for an armlock I would’ve thought that you were on crack. But that’s exactly what Sakuraba did, and it worked out pretty well for him on more than one occasion…
It’s like what my friend Brandon ‘Wolverine’ Mullins recently told me, “if everybody is doing a certain technique then it probably means that it works, and that you should do it too. But if nobody is doing a technique, then that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Maybe people just haven’t discovered it yet…”
So Sakuraba helped make this oddball technique respectable.
The standing Kimura completely changes the dynamics of someone taking your back when you’re standing. If you do it properly you can end a fight VERY quickly. And even if it doesn’t work, the very threat of the attack often allows you to get get out of terrible position (i.e. your back being to your opponent) and back to a more neutral position.
I now see the standing Kimura (or variations of it) all the time in MMA, from the amateur level right up to the UFC. The latest trend seems to be using it when your opponent is going for a double leg takedown against the fence: base out, reach over his back, lock your Kimura grip, and then start using the attack to shut down his takedown, turn him over, and wind him down to the ground.
It’s become a go-to staple of standing grappling, and if you don’t know about it then you’re probably going to get caught by it at some point.
Knowledge is power, so here’s a clip from my Grapplearts Submissions iPhone app about how to do the standing Kimura properly.
Make sure you watch the whole video, including the safety precautions near the end, because it’s pretty easy to hurt your training partner if you spaz out and apply this particular submission recklessly or incorrectly.