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Submission Namesakes: Five Fighters and the Holds That Bear Their Names

(Does a Kimura by any other name hurt just as much? Pic:

To enter the cage, to square off against another man trained to hurt you, makes you a tough guy. To make him surrender—the fight, his pride, his win bonus, his status in the sport—makes you a fighter. To become so proficient, so inventive in the art of submission that they name a particular form of kicking another man’s ass in your honor, that makes you immortal. One by one these men will fall, each and every one of them, but every time a limb is cranked, every time a man is rendered unconscious, their legacy will live on. Here’s a tribute to five men whose names grace the finer side of fighting.

The Kimura

We may as well go ahead and start at the top. There’s a damn good reason we don’t have to listen to Mike Goldberg fumble his way through “reverse ude-garami” every event, and his name is Masahiko Kimura. Brazilian brothers Carlos and Helio Gracie were taught the sacred art of Kodokan Judo by Japanese immigrant Mitsuyo Maeda. Forced to hone the art into an efficient, finesse based discipline by his frail disposition, Helio refined the techniques that would come to form the backbone of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Along the way, he’d put both his style and his body on the line against boxers, wrestlers, and judoka from around the world. After choking out judoka Kato, the thirty-eight year old Helio had proven himself worthy to challenge Masahiko Kimura, one of history’s finest judoka.

Few gave the Brazilian, who weighed 80lbs less than his opponent, any chance of victory, and you can count Helio among that group. Kimura himself said Gracie surviving more than three minutes in the match would be a victory in its own right. In fact, Helio survived thirteen minutes of wild throws and by his own admission was momentarily choked unconscious, but he refused to give up. Kimura again hurled him through the air, pinning his opponent and securing an arm as they collided with the mat. Torquing the arm with a reverse ude-garami yielded the sound of cracking bone but no tap. Kimura wrenched the arm back again, snapping another bone, but Helio refused to surrender. As the judoka prepared to twist once more, a white towel flew in from Gracie’s corner and the bout was halted. Kimura took home the victory, and both men earned the other’s respect. The Gracies renamed the submission in his honor, and Helio was intived to teach at the Imperial Academy of Japan.

Some 48 years later, the next generation of Gracie fighters would bring their family trade back to the Land of the Rising Sun to test their skills in the Pride Fighting Championship. Four of them would face Japanese pro wrestler turned MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba under the Pride banner, and all would taste defeat. Cousins Royler and Renzo fell victim to vicious kimuras but refused to tap. Renzo—like Helio before him—would leave the ring with a loss, a broken arm, and his pride.

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Cagepotato Comments

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ctownhood- July 28, 2011 at 10:36 am
I'm just glad CP got it right on where BJJ came from. Most sites say that Maeda taught the Gracies jiu-jitsu, which is incorrect. They were taught Kodokan Judo.
Elentius- July 28, 2011 at 4:42 am
Crush and Rex you forgot to fill in the blanks. Excellent piece.
vmaltes- July 28, 2011 at 2:17 am here you can have the whole story of this great fighter Gracie... in portuguese though
DangadaDang- July 27, 2011 at 1:05 pm
Awesome article. That Philmura was so damn cool to watch, and I say that as a Boetsch fan
Cryptococcus neoformans- July 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm
When I saw this article I thought of the Mir lock first. I'm kinda surpirsed that it wasn't included. @ joshuan, Marcelo Garcia broke Rolles Gracie's arm in a very similar manner @ ADCC in 2007. I think it might have been by accident though
knucklesamitch- July 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm
funny stuff intercept
El Guapo- July 27, 2011 at 11:25 am
Wilson and MeLikey... FTW(s)
intercept440- July 27, 2011 at 9:13 am
you left out the ear grab forward thrust penis choke.. (disclaimer) cuases gagging on untrained females
Pen Fifteen- July 27, 2011 at 9:12 am
Another honorable mention should go to Dong-Sik Yoon, pioneer of the Dongbar.
joshuan29- July 27, 2011 at 9:12 am
mirs keylock from guard was sweet but i havent seen it used in another major mma fight. i still think it shoulda made the list. awesome article though!
Me likey- July 27, 2011 at 8:43 am
you forgot the joe san.
it includes duck tape, 1994 toyota corolla and a 9 iron.
SteelStringbean- July 27, 2011 at 8:35 am
You forgot to include the Mir Lock. Which is completely understandable. Thanks for the history lesson.
ReX13- July 27, 2011 at 8:17 am
Crush >> i'll try, but i'm not sure i can defend forgetting about the amazing ___________ at ________.
El Famous Burrito- July 27, 2011 at 8:02 am
You forgot my signature submission move: The Surprise Burrito.
CrushCo- July 27, 2011 at 8:01 am
Thanks, Rex. I'm headed out, so I'll leave you in charge of defending why I left off __________, and ___________, and of course __________.
ReX13- July 27, 2011 at 7:57 am
Really good stuff, Crush. Props.
RwilsonR- July 27, 2011 at 7:55 am
No Aokiplata?
CrushCo- July 27, 2011 at 7:53 am
@RSparrow: I have an entire post dedicated to Toney's BJJ prowess in the works. It may have to come out in a series of installments.
RwilsonR- July 27, 2011 at 7:52 am
It shouldn't even be called a Kimura, except for the legend built by the Gracies. Any true martial arts historian knows Kimura didn't invent that move, and that it was created at least two decades earlier in Canada by Joe Chickenwing... (who originally learned it from Steven Seagal).
RSparrow- July 27, 2011 at 7:50 am
Was just throwin' it out there, good article nonetheless. You also failed to mention several submissions from James Toney.
CrushCo- July 27, 2011 at 7:45 am
@Joedirt: I think you're right in that much of the Gracie retelling of the story is like the fish that got away- it's gotten bigger over time.
Joedirt- July 27, 2011 at 7:41 am
I always laugh at the retelling of Gracie vs Kimura... there was not an 80lb difference. Only the Gracie camp gives out those numbers... objective reports and Kimuras own telling say Gracie was taller and weighed in at 80kg and Kimura at just above 85kg.
I've read that Helio wasn't actually invited to teach in Japan but who knows.
CrushCo- July 27, 2011 at 7:41 am
Yeah, I ignored him and the Swickatine because they're just so close to the original submission. I guess the same could be said for the Philmura, but I thought it was different enough from the original and the story had a little back drop to it. Perhaps "The Farmaconda" deserved a spot as well, but I already expected complaints about how long it was so I left it off.
RSparrow- July 27, 2011 at 7:36 am
What about the crazy little Alaskan fuck that runs at you and attacks your neck when the bell rings... Noteable mention: The Mckenzentine