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高橋雄己, Yuki ‘Submission’ Takahashi born April 11th, 1999, in Aichi Prefecture Nagoya is currently competing in both Submission Grappling and Mixed Martial Arts out of “和術慧舟會HEARTS” or ‘Wajiutsu Keishoukai’ HEARTS and “今成柔術” or Imanari Jiu-Jitsu.

Having had impressive performances in both grappling and MMA in different Japanese promotions he is now set to make his debut on the international Polaris stage on June 2022.

We caught up with Yuki to get a better understanding of who he is, what kind of athlete he is and what his motivations are going forward in the ever growing global grappling circuit.

Polaris Poster

Polaris Pro

BJJASIA – We heard that your first martial art was in fact Judo. How did you go from Judo to No-gi grappling and MMA?

Takahashi – During my years in competitive Judo I specialised in the flying armbar. Then, in my final year of High School the rules in Judo were revised to ban flying submissions. This was the decisive moment where I started to gravitate towards Submission Grappling. I wanted to compete in a less restrictive ruleset, to be able to use my submission orientated game, which led me to train at Imanari Jiu-Jitsu. I believe the fact that one of my ‘Sempai’s’ in High school was Shinya Aoki also had a huge influence on my interest in MMA.

BJJASIA – In terms of competing Grappling, MMA & Jiu-Jitsu what ruleset do you favour the most and why?

Takahashi – My training and ‘style’ is largely based around submission only. I am open to competing in a points based ruleset, however I do not particularly see sweeping as particularly meaningful ‘advancement’ in a grappling match therefore I would say I prefer submission only grappling rules when competing. 

I especially favour rulesets where matches do not go to overtime or sudden death, where the match is decided on a definitive judges scorecard much like what Polaris and WNO is currently doing. 

Quintet Stage

Quintet Superfight

BJJASIA – What was your first impression when you started grappling?

Takahashi – When I first started at Imanari Jiu-Jitsu, I was shocked at just now how advanced leg locks were becoming. It left a huge impression on me. 

BJJASIA – Congratulations on your debut at Polaris. Is this the first time you’re competing abroad?

Takahashi – Thank you, including all my time in Judo, this will be my first international competition.

BJJASIA – What do you want to show the overseas grappling fans and what kind of impression do you want to leave?

Takahashi – Personally, I’ll be happy if they think that there are entertaining athletes in Japan. 

At present, I believe that Japanese grappling is seen as behind in comparison to more established countries. But by my participation on the Polaris stage, I hope to show that Japan is fertile enough to develop athletes that can adjust and grow into the modern grappling meta. I simply want to leave an positive impression of the future of Japanese Grappling. 

Chasing Heels

Leg Entries

BJJASIA – We read in a previous article that you wanted to start grappling even during your Judo years as you preferred to ‘twist on joints.’ Is that true even today?

Takahashi – Absolutely, nothing has changed.

BJJASIA – What was the most influential or biggest personal achievement in your competitive career so far?

Takahashi – I would say it was my first win at my prefectural Judo tournament when I was a kid.

BJJASIA – Why was this particular competition so important?

Takahashi – Even though this was won as a child I feel as if winning this particular competition was the catalyst for me to continue my martial arts journey.  

On the MMA Stage


BJJASIA – Have you ever had the opportunity train abroad? If you could where would you train?

Takahashi – Never, however I’m planning an overseas trip from the beginning of next month. (May 2022) I’m planning to go around the San Diego area to train at ATOS and 10th planet San Diego along with a camera crew for a Japanese TV show.

BJJASIA – How does your training change closer to competition?

Takahashi – There’s no major change in my training, though I do take into consideration the rules of the competition. Overall, I just try to improve the quality of all aspects of my grappling. 

Chasing Heels

Inside Heel Hook

BJJASIA – What is a typical week of training for you? How do you for that matter and is there any specificity in your diet?

Takahashi – My day to day training centre’s around sparring and situational sparring 8 times a week. In terms of diet I eat what I want.

BJJASIA – What are you thinking prior to your match, how is your mood?

Takahashi – I try not to think about unnecessary things that interfere with my concentration, all the while taking a sideways glance at the elbows, knees and heel shape of my opponent. I visualize the feeling of catching a joint and finishing the submission.

BJJASIA – How would you evaluate the current level of Jiu-Jitsu in Japan and for that matter the active grapplers in Japan? 

Takahashi – There are good athletes in Japan for sure, however it’s difficult to make the transition from the Japanese competition circuit to the world stage. You could say there is a ‘barrier’ from Japan to the world stage. As an athlete, I hope to show my value as a competitor and raise Japan’s reputation as a grappling powerhouse. 

BJJASIA – Are there any athletes you especially look up to in Japan or abroad?

Takahashi – I would say Eddie Bravo.

This respect goes beyond his competitive record to his role in leading the development of our no-gi grappling culture. 
This has inspired me to do my part to energize the Japanese grappling culture, hence why I am involved in hosting no-gi tournaments. (IRE AKA Imanari Roll ecstasy)

Eddie has created a number of unique and original systems that are effective in no-gi, influencing the existing meta. I aspire to be a person like Mr. Bravo who can add to grappling with my own style of grappling.

Inside Heel Hook

Solid Catch

BJJASIA – Which country do you think is the fastest growing in terms of grappling in Asia now? 

Takahashi – I think its Kazakhstan, they’ve formed a national team and are developing their grappling nation wide. They have the potential to be a very competitive country on the international circuit.

BJJASIA – How would you make Jiu-Jitsu more mainstream in Japan?

Takahashi – Strictly speaking for submission grappling, I think it would be necessary to create a system to increase the competitive population. We need a structured system to develop and manage amateur leagues such as the “All Japan Grappling Federation”. 

On top of that, if there is a professional tournament that is showcased in high-profile media platforms, the industry will develop further. I also recently hosted a grappling show called IRE in January 2022, but we also need the existence of organizations that continuously hold such events.

Its also important for Japanese competitors to play an active role on the world stage and raise the reputation of the Japanese competition. Its difficult to say that the grappling industry is maturing if it does not lead its local competitors to the global stage, even if you have a respectable competitive record in Japan.

Spats in style

In Style

BJJASIA – What are your future aspirations as a competitor?

Takahashi – We are now in the endemic stage of the pandemic, so now I would like to start competing more in overseas events past my June debut at Polaris. To build an international competition record and eventually win the 61.2kg belt at Polaris.

BJJASIA – Lastly, who would you like to thank?

Takahashi – I would like to thank my sponsor Scramble Japan, my manager Billy and the Scramble Boss Matt. Along with my invitation to Polaris they have been a huge support in my career, I would like to thank them through my competitive performances.

Imanari Jiu-Jitsu

Mentor & Student

1. 高橋さんの格闘技ベースは柔道と聞きましたが、そこからどういう きっかけでグラップリング又総合格闘技に入りましたか?


2. グラップリング、柔術、MMAの試合ににおいて、どのルール、 フォーマットを好みますか?



3. グラップリングを始めた最初の印象は?


4. Polaris 参戦決定おめでとうございます。海外での試合は初めてですか?


Model Life

Scramble Japan

5. 海外の柔術ファンには何をお見せしたいですかどう言う印象を与えたいですか?



6. 高橋さんが柔道時代「関節が捻りたいから」と言う理由でグラップリングを好んだとお聞きしましたが。その気持ちは今でも同じですか?


7. 様々な大会の中で、一番印象的な試合又は、優勝は何でしたか?


8. なぜこの大会が一番印象的でしたか?


Submission Hunter

Inside Sankaku

9. 外国の練習環境は経験した事はありますか?


10. 海外の何処でトレーニングがしたいですか?

実は来月(2022年5月)の頭から海外遠征を企画してまして、日本のテレビ番組のカメラと共にATOS、10th planet サンディエゴを中心にめぐる予定です。


Seminar at Triforce BJJ

11. 大会前の練習はどのように取り組んでいますか?


12. 通常のトレーニングの週は何ですか?日々の食、又トレーニングはどう取り組んでますか?



Outside Ashi

Outside Heel Hook

13. 試合が始まる前には何を考えていますか、ムードは?


14. 日本の現役選手又は現在の日本の柔術のレベルの様子を見てどう思いますか?



Outside Heel Hook

Aoki Leglock

15. 選手として尊敬する日本の選手、海外のファイターはいますか?

Eddie Bravoです。選手としての活躍に留まらず、ノーギグラップリング文化の発展を先導しているところを尊敬しています。僕も日本のグラップリングを盛り上げたく、大会の主催などを手掛けているので。また、彼はノーギにおいて有効な独自でオリジナルの技術を数多く生み出し、既存の技術体系に影響を与えています。僕も自身の技術でグラップリングの歴史を進められる存在になりたいです。




Another One

17. 個人的に考えて日本で柔術をもっと盛り上げるには何が必要だと思いますか?




18. 選手として、将来的には何を目標としていますか?


19. 最後に感謝したい方、スポンサーは?

スポンサーであるSCRAMBLE JAPANのマネージャーのビリーさん、SCRAMBLE のボスのマットさんです。Polaris参戦にあたりマネジメントで大いにサポートして頂いています。試合での活躍で返したいです。

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