Five-time World medallist Kirill Denisov is mainly a Tachi waza man. But he does have one very effective and decisive piece of Ne waza.
Denisov’s Ude gatame is set up from a standing position. He learnt it from his former coach; Russian heavyweight legend Tamerlan Tmenov.
Denisov will use Ude gatame when in a left versus left situation, and against an opponent who has established a high lapel or collar grip.
From a Kouchi gari chop down he transitions immediately onto the arm, not giving the opponent the chance to tuck into a defensive Ne waza position.
Then comes pressure to the elbow and the submission.
From his favoured sleeve and collar grip, Denisov takes uke into Ne waza using Kouchi. He then hugs their left arm tight into his body, using both hands, and brings his head and shoulder together in order to trap their hand.
Then comes a lifting action, as he applies pressure to the elbow. This is designed to prevent uke from bending their arm and escaping the armlock.
Denisov launches into the Kouchi chop down. He intends to not only break uke’s balance, but to loosen their strong grip on his lapel.
And as they lose control of his lapel, he closes in on their arm. Getting in as tight as he can to them so he’s in the optimum position for Ude gatame.
Denisov places his right hand on the back of uke’s elbow and his left hand on the back of the tricep. He brings his head and shoulder together, trapping uke’s hand.
If the elbow isn’t in the exact position for the lock, Denisov turns the arm slightly as he lifts up. At this moment he applies pressure to the elbow joint, pulling in with both arms and closing in with the upper body.
Notice how compact Denisov’s body is. Leaving no gap for uke to escape.
It’s right hand against the elbow, then the left hand. Neck and shoulder together, sandwiching uke’s hand.
The lifting action is the final way to prevent an escape. It also extends uke’s arm, which means the lock against the elbow is easier.
Finally, comes the pressure to the elbow joint and the inevitable submission.
So, here it is in a competitive situation.
Denisov’s main objective against left handed opponents is to prevent a high lapel or collar grip. But if they do manage to get it, he uses the opportunity to set up his Ude gatame.
This technique is one continuous movement, from standing all the way through to the point of submission. The continued close control of the left arm and hand is essential.
In the 2013 Tyumen Masters against Brazil’s Camilo, Denisov demonstrates brilliant transition skills, as he gets a lightning fast submission using Ude gatame.
With Camilo having taken a collar grip, Denisov chops him down into Ne waza and gives no room for escape as he closes in with the armlock.
Later that year at the World Championships, Denisov uses Ude gatame again, as he defeats Brown of the USA.
With Brown trying to take a high grip, Denisov uses his opponent’s forward momentum to pull him onto the ground. Then he catches the arm, but doesn’t have the angle or leverage to get the submission. By circling and dropping his weight he collapses Brown onto the tatami, but still doesn’t quite have the angle.
A final inwards turn of the arm is what it does it. Denisov gets the submission and the Ippon. He’s on his way to another World Championship medal.