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BJJ Lessons: Krzysztof Soszynski Explains the Kimura

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Lessons is a new FanHouse feature in which we ask someone in the MMA world to teach us about one aspect of Brazilian jiu jitsu. Today UFC fighter Krzysztof Soszynski tells us about the kimura.

At UFC 97, Krzysztof Soszynski took Brian Stann to the ground, latched onto his wrist and forced him to tap out with a kimura, a submission hold that puts pressure on the shoulder. If Stann was taken by surprise, he shouldn't have been: It was Soszynski's third straight fight in which he submitted his opponent with a kimura. Below, Soszynski (who will return to the Octagon on May 23 to fight Andre Gusmao at UFC 98) tells us all about his favorite submission move.

Michael David Smith: Why do you like the kimura so much?

Krzysztof Soszynski: The kimura was one of the first submissions I ever learned. It's a submission that works for me really well. I try catching everybody in it from different angles, whether I'm on the bottom, on top, side mount, mount. It's just something that works for me. I have pretty big shoulders, a strong grip and I feel that once I get hold of that arm, no matter who the opponent I'm fighting is, he has very little chance of defending it. Every ground fighter has a submission he likes to use, every stand-up fighter has a combination he likes to use, every wrestler has a takedown he likes to use, and for me, the kimura is just a favorite submission to go to.

Could you take me step-by-step through how to apply the kimura?
Let's say I'm in the side mount postiion, where I'm on top. The first thing i would do is secure the arm by using my shoulders and my arm to pin his arm against his body, whatever arm I'm going after. Then I make sure I have a good grip as I grab onto his wrist, and my other hand is sliding over to grab my own wrist, so I have kind of a figure-four. Then what I do is lift him up a little bit, and try to make his fingers touch the back of his head. The closer those fingers come to going up to his head, the quicker he'll tap.

You've had three professional fights in the last 12 months and won all three by kimura. Have you gone into these fights with a game plan to use a kimura, or has the opportunity just presented itself?
It's always in the back of my head that I'll do it because it's one of the moves I'm most comfortable with. But it's not the only thing in my game plan. The last three fights i ended up on the ground and in side mount, in all three fights. So that's a submission that's there for me. All three of those guys tried to get up while I had them in side mount, so they actually kind of helped me get the kimura by giving me their arms, and I just went for it. If I had been in a different position with somebody else, I would have gone for a different move, but the kimura worked.

Do you know much about the history of the kimura? It's named for Masahiko Kimura, a Japanese judoka who defeated Helio Gracie in a fight in Brazil in 1955.

No, I didn't know that. I should look it up.

What makes the kimura effective?
It's a move you can grab from any angle. On the bottom on top, in guard, in half guard, from side mount, you can use it to sweep. It's one of those submissions you can use from all angles, and it's a very safe submission. Not too many guys can get out of it or do anything to you when you have them in a kimura.