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The Bloody Elbow Judo Chop: Kimura Roll to Armbar

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Ishida1_medium As you may or may not know, my martial arts training is limited to some karate lessons in the mid-90s and getting my ass-kicked badly in high school wrestling.

However, I have watched thousands of hours of fights and even recently started reading some books on fighting technique.

Therefore, I believe I'm eminently qualified to start a new column on MMA techniques: The Judo Chop.

Today's technique is a really sweet transition that Japanese ace Mitsuhiro Ishida pulled off at his Strikeforce debut against Justin Wilcox. Ishida's known for his wrestling, not his submission acumen (only 2 submissions in 17 wins) so this was a bit of a surprise.

Here's my attempt to describe what's going on. The gif starts out with an interesting positional battle, Wilcox is going for a single leg and Ishida has a kimura grip. (In traditional Judo that's called an Ude Garami grip).

From there Ishida rolls into a technique that is similar to Sumi-Gaeshi -- in Judo its normally done by grabbing the opponent's gi. The kimura grip is a nice way to make the throw work in MMA.

We've seen that move in MMA before -- Karo Parisyan used it on Dave Strasser at UFC 44. Karo describes the move in his book "Judo for Mixed Martial Arts" as a "sumi-gaeshi with kimura grip" (p. 151).

The difference is, where Karo went ahead and finished Strasser with a kimura, Wilcox spins in mid-air to escape the Kimura. Therefore Ishida rolls into a lightening fast straight arm-bar. I'd love to know if he's trained that sequence before or if he just improvised it in the fight.

I assume Ishida has always had a pretty solid Judo background and just hasn't had the chance to use it much in Japan. I think the ring prevents a lot of throws just like it stops a lot of double-leg takedowns (not that I don't love the ring, but just like the cage its an artificial environment that distorts the fight). I also think the commonality of judo training in Japan makes it harder to catch opponents with sweet throws.

And that's the Judo Chop of the Week!

Bonus: The reason that we call the Ude Garami a Kimura is because Judo legend Masahiko Kimura used the hold to break Helio Gracie's shoulder in their famous 1951 match. You can see Kimura using the Ude Garami grip to land a Sumi-Gaeshi at 0:20 of the video I've put in the extended entry.

Masahiko Kimura - judo techniques