Issue 074

April 2011

Dazzling acrobatics and inventive holds are within your reach with our step-by-step guide to dispatching opponents in the style of an MMA legend!


Known as the double wristlock in catch wrestling, Sakuraba’s kimura involves a powerful twist at the wrist. This would not only break his opponent’s body lock but attack the elbow joint at the move's climax.

In the Gym

Start with your partner at your back using a rear body lock. Pressure down on their hands and establish a wrist control. Twist the wrist and make the figure-four grip. From there you can twist them to the mat or throw them overhead with an elevator hook.

In Action

Sakuraba’s legendary series of fights against the Gracie family led to both Royler and Renzo Gracie getting caught in this, Sakuraba’s trademark finishing hold. While Royler denied that he was in danger after the ref stopped the match, Renzo was seriously injured by the twisting force applied to his elbow.


Spectacular acrobatic guard passes were a standard part of Sakuraba’s performances is his heyday.

In the Gym

Start with your opponent grounded and playing an open guard. Post your hand on the mat near in the region of their hip joint, then cartwheel over and land in north-south. Attack for the kimura straight away.

In Action 

Sakuraba attempted numerous cartwheels to pass the guard of Renzo Gracie.


In the Gym

The double chop isn’t necessarily the most damaging of attacks, but being hit with two hands simultaneously is profoundly disorientating – and it’s illegal in boxing. After striking with the double chop, take advantage of the confusion to land a more telling shot through the guard.

In Action 

Take a look back to Sakuraba’s first clash with Royce Gracie from the Pride 2000 Grand Prix.


Although considered a standard tactic today, Sakuraba was one of the first to perfect and popularize that leg kick against a downed opponent.

In the Gym

Wear shin guards to protect yourselves. Kick the soft flesh on the back of your opponent's thigh. Unlike me in the pictures, expose this spot by controling their toes, not their ankle.

In Action 

When Royler Gracie sat down to his guard against Saku San, the BJJ standard-bearer was punished with a series of leg kicks.