Last weekend's DREAM 16 featured a lot of great action, none more remarkable than Kazuyuki Miyata's back-to-back suplexes of "Lion" Takeshi Inoue. MMA fans have been debating the role of wrestling in MMA and how much take downs should count with the judges, but you rarely hear fans complain that there were too many suplexes in a match.
Miyata was on the Japanese Olympic wrestling team in 2000 so it should be no suprise that he can bust out some impressive wrestling. Sherdog breaks down his wrestling pedigree:
A gifted wrestler, Miyata won regional- and national-level wrestling championships during his middle and high school years. Though these accolades theoretically ensured his path into higher education, it was not guaranteed.
"I almost didn't graduate," Miyata said with a chuckle. "We used to cut class and go to pachinko places instead."
"I owe a lot to [current FILA Japan head] Tomoaki Fukuda," Miyata said. "At the time, Fukuda headed up Nippon University's wrestling team and was looking to scout me. I graduated only because he interceded on my behalf so that I could wrestle for Nippon University."
Miyata became a collegiate champion at 139 pounds in 1999 and represented Japan in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. After placing 13th in Sydney, Miyata sought a place in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, but failed to qualify.
Like his childhood friend Michihiro Omigawa, Miyata was thrown into the deep end of the MMA pool at the start of his career and went 2-4 to start his career. His list of opponents includes stars like Kid Yamamoto, Royler Gracie, and Genki Sudo so there was no shame, just poor career planning.
Now let's talk about the technique in question.
K.J. Gould has explained the etymology of the term suplex on Cage Side Seats it's a pro-wrestling term adapted from the original Greco-Roman term suplay. Here's more from K.J. talking about the move itself
Note that Miyata does the throw in a way that's Greco competition legal as he turns slightly during the throw to avoid spiking the opponent and causing to land more on his shoulder then his neck.
It was nicknamed the German Suplex after Karl Gotch, and when Gotch used it it was called an Atomic Suplex. But Gotch himself says the move originated in Finland:
(From a magazine article "Karl Gotch, The Quiet Man, Speaks His Piece" by Bob Leonard, The Ring Wrestling, December 1968)
Ring: Karl, your well-known finishing hold, the "Atomic Suplex", is very similar to (Lou) Thesz' Greco-Roman backdrop. How did the Suplex originate?
Gotch: Yes the two are very similar...and I think that again it traces back to our training with the old-timers. The Suplex began about 150 years ago, and it was invented by the Finns. That's why it is called in German, to translate exactly, 'Finish (sic) Overthrow.' The object of the two holds is the same, to crash your opponent over backward and stun him by driving his head into the mat. In doing both holds, you have to pick the split second that your man is slightly off balance, then heave him over backwards. Thesz uses the backdrop as a softening-up hold, then pins his man with a half press. With the Suplex, I shoulder-stand my opponent for the pin. But either way, you know, it does a very good job.
In the full entry we'll break down some gifs and learn more about the suplex from K.J. and how exactly Miyata applied it here. We'll also see one of the most incredible suplays in Olympic wrestling history when Wilfried Dietrich threw the 500lb Chris Taylor at the 1972 Munich Olympics and as an added bonus we'll see the one and only Shonie Carter explaining the move from a Judo context.
Also if you enjoy dramatic throws and slams see these earlier Judo Chops:
- Rousimar Palhares' Slamming Takedown Clinic
- Jon Jones' Greco-Roman Clinic
- The Judo Chops of Jon Jones
- Judo Techniques Making the Difference in Fights
Here's Wikipedia with a definition of the German Suplex:
Technically known as a belly to back waist lock suplex, the wrestler stands behind the opponent, grabs them around their waist, lifts them up, and falls backwards while bridging his back and legs, slamming the opponent down to the mat shoulder and upper back first. The wrestler keeps the waistlock and continues bridging with their back and legs, pinning the opponent's shoulders down against the mat. The regular pinning variation can be referred to as the German suplex pin. The wrestler can also release the opponent in mid arch, which is referred to as a release German suplex. Sometimes, rather than bridging for a pin, the wrestler may roll himself into another position to perform the move again, often referred to as multiple or rolling German suplexes.
Here's K.J. Gould breaking down the action:
Miyata shoots and takes a penetration step before pivoting to get Inoue's back. Inoue doesn't have time to sprawl and even if he did Miyata is at the wrong angle and is too deep in to be effectively sprawled on.He decides on a wrist grip instead of a gable grip or finger grip around the waist. This could be because certain glove designs can inhibit certain grips, something I believe Shinya Aoki has commented on.
Miyata lifts and loads Inoue onto his hips. This is actually the most difficult part of a back suplay as once the weight is off the ground and loaded all that is needed is a bit of gravity and flexibility. Miyata hips forward and arches his back to complete the throw, turning slightly as I mentioned which is down to habit from continuous drilling more than likely.
The second throw is technically the same and may have been just to score points or try to do more damage. Note Inoue still lands on the shoulder more than the neck and I think that's down to Miyata's muscle memory from competition. It's very hard to adjust a move you've done thousands of repetitions on in one particular way.
An interesting note is Miyata is trained by Akira Maeda himself and literally trains weekly in the old-school method Karl Gotch used with the deck of cards (a shuffled deck of cards was used for conditioning exercises such as hindu squats, hindu press ups, neck bridges, sit ups etc where each card donated the number of reps for an exercise until the whole deck of cards had been gone through. Incredibly tough and torturous to do even for the fittest of athletes.
Here's Shonie Carter explaining the move (and using it's Judo name: Ura Nage)
Here's an animated gif of the Judo version from JudoInfo.com
Here's Wilfried Dietrich throwing the 400+lb Chris Taylor at the 1972 Munich Olympics. It's not a belly to back suplay but rather a belly to belly suplay. I just couldn't resist sharing it.