No submission carries the wow factor quite like the twister. The twister became huge after Eddie Bravo beat Royler Gracie in ADCC as a brown belt. Much of Eddie’s material became popular and part of that material was the twister. Banned in most BJJ tournaments (unless in some cases for advanced/black belt divisions, or submission only format with EBI rules), it is a highly dangerous and effective technique. When done correctly, it is a groin ripper, a spine lock and a neck crank. It is feared and respected at the same time.
The twister (a similar move in wrestling is known as a guillotine) is a sideways body bend and neck crank, which involves forcing the head towards the shoulder while controlling the body, hence causing lateral hyperflexion of the cervical spine. The technique involves tension in several body parts, and depending on the flexibility of the recipient, can also involve pain in the knees, abdominals and torso. The twister is often confused as being a spine crank since it involves a degree of lateral non-cervical spinal flexion. The main pressure is however on the cervical spine, hence making it a neck crank.
It is most often performed from a back mount single vine ride position, where the top man has one “hook” threaded through the bottom man’s legs and secured behind the ankle. The top man then pulls the bottom man’s opposite arm behind his own head and grabs hold of his opponent’s head, pulling it down to his shoulder.
While it is a bit more rare to see in Jiu Jitsu competition, it has found a home as a technique in the cage, in MMA bouts. It’s most memorable use in MMA was in the UFC, where Korean featherweight star, Chan Sung Jung, better known as “The Korean Zombie” finished Leonard Garcia with it. He set it up off his opponent’s back.
If you have standard back control, you have to abandon one hook and get the lockdown on your opponent’s leg where you still have the hook. From there get your opponent’s near side arm down to the mat, with your body over it and lock up a gable grip over your opponent’s forehead. It is an easy finish from that. Here is Stephen Kesting explaining this particular way of attaining the twister.
This entry is super-effective because it’s very high percentage even against quality opponents who know it’s coming.
Setting it up from the back is a great fundamental way of getting to the twister, but for more advanced students, there are some fun ways of getting the submission. There are lots of advanced ways to get into this submission, including some crazy rolling entries from positions you would never expect. But those can be difficult to learn, especially if you’re new to the Twister.
Eddie Bravo has a whole system based off of the twister and what he calls twister side control. Twister side control which is like a reverse scarf hold version of side control sets up the truck transition. The truck leads right into the twister submission. It is actually a very quick transition into the submission. Below, Eddie Bravo, the man himself, shows his twister side control.
A word of warning – the twister can seriously injure your training partner or opponent, leaving them with life long consequences !!! Make sure you exercise caution when going for it, and even more important – when being caught in it. If you get caught up in a twister tap early, quick and without hesitation.
If you don’t…. well, take a look at what happened to UFC fighter Angela Magana.
The UFC strawweight who competed on season 20 of the Ultimate Fighter, post a picture of herself on Twitter in 2015 with a brace on her chest, after ending up in the hospital as a result of refusing to tap to a Twister submission hold.
I'd rather go out crippled than tap to a twister pic.twitter.com/bgwxb7pDvk
— Angela Magana (@AngelaMagana1) November 2, 2015
When opening your mind to some nontraditional aspects of Jiu Jitsu, you can gain the upper hand. Many people refuse to learn the new school game of Jiu Jitsu, which makes them susceptible to those techniques. The twister is a great technique to get into. Eddie Bravo’s Mastering the Twister is the ultimate text for these techniques.
If you catch your training partners in it – carefully and gently of course – then you get major bragging rights and some instant ‘mat cred!’
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