Jan 7, 2009

Why we don't see the Fireman's Carry (Kata Guruma) in MMA

The Fireman's carry (aka Kata Guruma) is a very effective throw in wrestling and Judo, but it is rarely ever seen in high-level MMA competition, and is just as rare in jiu jitsu competition.

What is the Fireman's carry? In a really simple definition, it is using a single leg entry while pulling down on the upper body to support the weight on the shoulders, lifting up with the legs (or dropping down to the knees), and dropping the opponent like a sack of potatoes over the other side. (Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klOINKzcav4)

But why would it not be used often in mixed martial arts or bjj competition?

Watch (Gary Goodridge vs. Paul Herrera)

Yeah. You're pretty much handing the person a crucifix on a silver platter.

The way I see it, without exceptional timing, speed, and huge gap in grappling experience, it's far too risky to actively try to get the Fireman's Carry in MMA, though if the opportunity presents itself perfectly, you should go for it.


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Anonymous said...

I love hearing your thoughts. I'm a huge Judo fan and this never even occured to me! Keep it up.

Musashi said...


Even though I hate Gary Goodridge, that was quite brutal.

Anonymous said...

Your points are very true, however the fireman's carry performed in the Goodridge fight was was done poorly and was very sloppy.

The fireman's carry can be an incredibly effective takedown in mma. If done properly, after execution you should be in a perfect sidemount with an arm, and have access to a headlock, full front/back mount or armbar. It just depends on your opponents reaction.

The trick is you have to number one be fast, grab the back of the arm and keep your head up while pulling down HARD on the arm. When finishing the takedown you will need to literally drop your head and shuck or throw your opponent off of your shoulders in a forward motion, NOT roll to the side. (this is why the fireman in the Goodrich fight failed, he rolled to the side and fell backwards into the cruifix).

Once the throw is complete and your opponent is on the mat pull hard on opponent's leg and arm pulling them in tight. At this point you can drive your opponent with your head while controlling the arm/leg to provide a distraction so you can lift your head while keeping it tight to your opponents body and releasing the leg and bringing your arm over his body. At this point you should still have control of the arm.

Key, remain in control.

Punchkickchoke said...

The issue is that while the Kata Guruma is an effective throw, and when properly done, will leave you in a great position to attack, it is definitely a high-risk move.

You're absolutely right- when done with those things in mind, the carry will work just fine with little risk of what happened to Huerra. Unfortunately, if those things aren't followed to a tee, getting crucifixed is a very real danger. The point was that the reason it isn't used very often is the very low level of tolerance for mistakes-

In comparison, while getting sprawled out on during a sloppy double leg attempt is bad, it doesn't trap you in a bad spot, and even if you made a mistake in the process, there is still some chance of getting the takedown. Hence, you see the double leg very often in MMA/Grappling competition.

High level MMA is a game of percentages and risk/reward, so you don't see the move promoted or used very often. The point of the post wasn't to discredit the Fireman's Carry as a legitimate technique, but rather to explain its rarity in competition.

That being said, I do believe I saw it during the last UFC Ultimate Fight Night. :)