Koichiro Kimura was a mixed martial artist and pro wrestler, known by the ring name of Super Uchuu Power. BJJ fans tend to know him as the big Japanese guy from the documentary Choke, which follows Rickson Gracie's victorious trajectory at Vale Tudo Japan 1995.
Kimura died of pneumonia in 2014 at the age of 44, but not before leaving his mark on many promotions, and even founding the all-female Smackgirl.
He was young and inexperienced in vale-tudo, claiming to have "never been in a fight with no rules," prior to the 1995 event, although he was at the time Japan's top heavyweight amateur wrestler and shootfighter.
The documentary spends a good amount of time on him, showing us his home, where his mom expresses concern for the upcoming tournament. Although he loses his first bout to Todd Hays, Kimura advances to a repechage as Hays is unable to continue due to a shoulder injury.
After beating Wayne Emons in a tough six-minute round, Kimura immediately has to take on Rickson Gracie, not even leaving the ring between the repechage and the semifinal. His strength is in full display as he lifts Rickson in the air, forcing Rickson to perform an iconic move and land on his feet like a cat. The Brazilian soon takes the back and finishes the job.
Kimura appears to have been a humble man. There is no bluster coming from him whatsoever. Interviewed right after his elimination, he says: "I'm glad I had the chance to fight him. I'm glad I got to do it. I don't mean to cry, but... He's a fighter whom I really wanted to meet. I feel really lucky even to have had the chance. I'd hoped to win the first fight in order to be able to fight Rickson. So to actually have this happen, I was very happy, but also... inadequate."
Kimura continues: "The confidence that Gracie has because he is champion gives him such superiority... For now, I've come to understand the enormous depth of Gracie jiu-jitsu. It's not simply a blend of wrestling and judo. His jiu-jitsu is really an entirely new discipline that I want to understand as much as I can. So I will study Gracie jiu-jitsu—not in parts to be pieced together, but the real Gracie jiu-jitsu. Please, leave me alone now."