Kimura Masahiko (September 10, 1917 – April 18, 1993) was a Japanese judoka and professional wrestler who is widely considered one of the greatest judoka of all time. In submission grappling, the reverse ude-garami arm lock is often called the "Kimura", due to his famous victory over Gracie jiu-jitsu developer Hélio Gracie. For the next several classes we will be focusing on taking the ubiquitous kimura lock and learning how to apply it from variety of positions. We will start of by learning how to attack with the kimura from the north-south position. Join us on Mondays and Wednesdays from at 11 am and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 pm and 8 pm as we begin our next series: Kimuras Everywhere! During our Open Mat on Friday nights at 7 pm we will be include some drilling of the techniques covered during the week.
Below is the story of the great battle between Helio Gracie and Kimura Masahiko taken from Wikipedia.
In 1949, after winning multiple fights against boxers, wrestlers and savate fighters in Europe, Kimura and his troupe formed by judoka Toshio Yamaguchi and Yukio Kato went to Brazil after an invitation by Hélio Gracie of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Gracie challenged them to a match under what would be known as the "Gracie Rules", in which throws and pins would not count towards victory, with only submission or loss of consciousness. This played against judo rules in which pins and throws can award someone a victory, but they accepted nonetheless. Kato was the first to accept the challenge, drawing with Hélio Gracie in their match at the Maracana stadium. However, he lost to Gracie by gi choke in the rematch at the Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo. Hélio proposed to continue with the challenge, and Yamaguchi appointed himself the next to fight. Kimura, however, volunteered to fight in his place.
The bout between Gracie and Kimura took place again in the Maracana stadium, before an audience of 20,000 people, including president of Brazil Getúlio Vargas. Expectation was such that, according to a source, Kimura had been warned by the Japanese embassy that he would not be welcomed back in Japan if he lost the match. Kimura was received in the arena with raw eggs and insults by the Brazilian crowds, and the Gracie challengers brought a coffin to symbolize Kimura would be dead, just like they had done with Kato. At the start of the match, Hélio tried to throw him down with osoto gari and ouchi gari, but Kimura blocked them and scored multiple throws by ouchi gari, harai goshi, uchi mata and ippon seoi nage. However, Helio Gracie was able to perform ukemi thanks to the soft mat used in competitions, so Kimura couldn't subdue him by throwing alone. The judoka started planning a way to win between throw and throw, and at about the ten minute mark he took the fight to the ground, pinning Gracie with kuzure-kami-shiho-gatame. After a number of holds by the Japanese, including kesa-gatame, sankaku-jime and do-jime, the Brazilian looked unable to breathe under Kimura, but he persevered, until he tried to switch position by pushing with his arm. At that moment, Kimura seized the limb and executed gyaku-ude-garami. Hélio did not surrender, and Kimura rotated the arm until it broke. As Gracie still refused to give up, Masahiko twisted the arm further and broke it again. Finally, when the judoka was about to twist it a third time, Gracie's corner threw the towel, and Kimura was declared winner. A crowd of Japanese came and tossed Kimura high in celebration, while Hélio's arm was treated by doctors. As a tribute to Kimura's victory, the armlock technique he used to defeat Gracie has since been commonly referred to as the Kimura lock, or simply the Kimura, in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and, more recently, mixed martial arts circles.
The match, however, is not devoid of controversy. Contrary to popular belief, Kimura never claimed that he would consider the match a loss if Helio lasted more than three minutes with him, something which was probably misattributed to him by Brazilian press. Also, there have been talks of the match being carried or worked to a point: Kimura's training partner Georges Mehdi, who witnessed the fight, claims that the two contendants played loosely for most of the first part of the match and in a 1994 interview with Yoshinori Nishi, Helio Gracie himself admitted that he had been rendered unconscious very early in the bout by a do-jime before Kimura released the hold and continued the bout. Finally, the weight difference between the two fighters is another point of doubt. Gracie sources often list Kimura as being heavier than Hélio by 36 kg (80 lbs), though the real difference has been estimated by a minor 10 kg (22 lbs), while Kimura's autobiography lists it as just 8 kg.