Photo Credit: GracieMag

The Art of Submission: Kneebar

Jiu-Jitsu is an amazing thing. MMA fans love a good submission finish. We get a real kick when we see a fighter transition into position and lock up one of our favorite submissions. Some of the most common submissions in MMA are the rear-naked-chokes, armbars and triangle chokes, but in this series, I’m going to be looking into the submissions that we don’t typically see. In my latest editions of “The Art of Submission,” I broke down a couple of my personal favorites, The Von Flue choke, The D’Arce choke and The Calf Slicer.

The Kneebar (kneelock or hiza-juji-gatame)

The pain of a kneebar is one of the most antagonizing submissions that a fighter may have to go through inside the cage. The kneebar is basically a leglock that is hyperextended out to the knee. This will work by the attacker or practitioner trapping their opponents leg in with their own leg. From here the attacker will secure their opponents leg with their arms so that the kneecap of the leg they’ve got hold of, is pointing towards the body. Using the hips, the practitioner will then apply pressure which will then force the leg of the opponent to straighten which will make the knee join hyperextend. As an alternative variation, the attacker instead will let go of the leg and put it underneath their own armpit. This means that the pressure will be applied by not only the hips but the upper-body at the same time. Failure to escape or submit may lead to severe tissue or ligament damage.

Where have we seen the kneebar?

Over the past couple of years, we have seen some deadly kneebars inside of the cage and ring. One of the craziest ones we have ever seen was way back at UFC 81 when Brock Lesnar met Frank Mir. When Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir squared off for the first time, we knew that we were in for a fight. After taking some heavy shots from “The Beast,” Mir managed to lock in a fight-ending kneebar which caused Lesnar to tap.

Another time we have seen it was on the second ever “King Of Pancrase” tournament which was held back in 1995 in Tokyo, Japan. Ken Shamrock, who won the tournament just a year before, defended his belt against one of the most respected MMA icons of all time, Bas Rutten. When the two threw down, we knew that both men had a good ground game. Back then it was referred to more as ‘catch wrestling’ due to the world not really being introduced to what we all know and love today, Jiu-Jistu. This was a very quick one as Shamrock managed to get it to the ground early and twist his body to perform a kneebar forcing Rutten to tap at only 1:01 into the first round.

Other Notable mentions:

  • Mauricio Rua vs. Kevin RandlemanPride 32
  • Chris Lytle vs. Brian FosterUFC 110
  • John Cholish vs. Marc Steven – Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva
  • Jim Miller vs. Charles OliveiraUFC 124
  • Rousimar Palhares vs. David BranchUFC on Versus 3
  • Iuri Alcântara vs. Luke Sanders UFC 209
  • Antônio Braga Neto vs. Anthony SmithUFC on FUEL TV 10

If you can think of any more, please do not hesitate to message us on Twitter or Facebook to let us know.


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