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Technique of the Week: Instructional video on the Americana submission lock

Technique of the Week: Instructional video on the Americana submission lock

Chris Civello of Sakura BJJ in Dover, New Jersey provides this week’s ‘Technique of the Week.’ Civello, a brown belt under Marcelo Garcia demonstrates the Americana submission lock.

The Americana lock, sometimes referred to as a keylock or figure four armlock in catch wrestling, or ude garami in judo, is a maneuver where the top positioned competitor (most of the time – it can be applied from other positions) bends his opponent’s arm by using double wrist control. The position is mostly associated with the side mount (side control).

The difference between the Americana and the kimura lock relies on which way the forearm is pointing. If the forearm is pointing downwards (towards the hip) the position is called a kimura. When the forearm is pointing up it is called an Americana.

According to BJJ Heroes:

The name: Americana lock
“The name ‘Americana’ is often referred to Rolls Gracie and his friendship with the american wrestler Bob Anderson in the mid 1970s. The fable goes that Anderson showed the position to Rolls who labeled it as the ‘Americana’ in Anderson’s honor. Although this story is heavily publicized, showing in books such as ‘Jiu-Jitsu in the South Zone, 1997-2008’, or even Bob Anderson’s wikipedia page, it is 100% false.

“This lock was utilized in Brazilian jiu jitsu before the birth of Bob Anderson. The terminology ‘Americana’ was also used in Rio de Janeiro for the “figure four” type submissions (ude garami) since the early beginnings of the martial art. In fact the name is mentioned in 1951 to describe Masahiko Kimura’s victory over Helio Gracie. The newspaper Diário de Noticias wrote at the time:

He [Kimura] inflicted severe punishment, even drawing blood. The decisive technique was the Americana Lock (…) – Diário de Noticias 24-10-1951

The technique utilized was in fact the reverse Americana, now called Kimura. But it perfectly illustrates that the term ‘Americana’ already circulated within the Rio de Janeiro Jiu Jitsu community during the 1950s.”

Sakura BJJ is located at 87 Bassett Hwy, Dover, NJ 07801.

Visit Sakura BJJ on the web at

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Eric Kowal

Eric Kowal

Owner/Editor/Journalist at MyMMANews
Founder of - After writing for Ultimate MMA magazine and serving as the editor for U.S. Combat Sports, both of which went on hiatus, I decided to venture out on my own and enlist a staff of writers and photographers that could help me achieve my goal of telling stories that would otherwise go untold. We pride ourselves in taking a deeper look into the fighter, and understanding what makes them tick. - #1 Dad, Marine Corps Veteran, 80's and 90's Pro Wrestling Fan, MMA Commentator, Beer Lover, and avid movie watcher. Seriously..... I watch a lot of movies.

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