The twister is a submission technique, popularized by Eddie Bravo, the inventor of the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. The twister is considered the holy grail of submissions from the truck position. MMA fighters Shinya Aoki, Chan Sung Jung (The Korean Zombie), and Angela Lee have successfully pulled off the twister in their fights in spectacular fashion.
To the casual eye, the submission appears to be one of pulling the head and clamping down on one of the legs, but look a little deeper and you will find there are key details to finishing the submission and establishing control along the way to finishing the twister.
Let’s look at some key details you will need to address and master in order to complete the twister submission in your own matches.
Breaking the arms and getting baseball bat control
Once you’ve established the truck position, the next step along the path to the twister is to grab your opponent’s near side arm and place it in baseball bat control. Baseball bat control consists of forcing your elbow into your opponent’s armpit while both hands grasp that arm’s wrist.
There are times where your opponent is able to break the grip, or preventively keep his arms clinched tight to his body to prevent you from even establishing baseball bat control. If this occurs, you will need to apply a breaking technique on your opponent’s arm. A tried and true technique is to use the bolt cutter, in which you will underhook your opponent’s near arm with your near arm, and your far arm will overhook your opponent’s near arm. You then stretch your body out, and with the power of your torso and spine, you will break open your opponent’s clinch. Immediately, put your opponent’s arm back in baseball bat control.
Lockdown to lotus control to triangling the legs
Traditionally, keeping your opponent in Lockdown when they are in the truck was the norm. Many times, people are able to finish an opponent with lockdown control alone. But as practitioners get more and more savvy to the twister and its defense, you will find it necessary to be able to move from lockdown control to lotus to triangle control on the caught leg. Being well versed in moving from one control position to the next, given the situation and level of knowledge your opponent has, comes via experience and experimentation. Experiment with the three types of control, moving between controls along the path to the twister submission.
Putting the arm behind the back and the Swedish twister
After you have solid control of your opponent with baseball bat control, it’s time to isolate the caught arm behind your neck and on the ground. Sometimes placing the arm behind your neck and stapling it to the ground is as easy as guiding the caught arm behind your neck and turning to face your opponent and S-gripping around their head. With many people knowing the final steps to finishing the twister, it is rare to come across someone who won’t resist at this point. Your opponent will actually prevent you from grabbing their head by using their free arm to block you as much as possible. The solution to this is to keep your opponents as stretched out as possible, thereby making it uncomfortable for them when you turn to face them. This is where the Swedish twister comes into play. From baseball bat control, you will essentially hold their wrist with your near side arm, and you will bring your far arm up through the hole made, sit up and force your opponent’s wrist down your back near your hips. Then after you lay back on their arm, their body is stretched out making it easier for you to turn to face your opponent and secure the grip around their head.
When you finally established the S-grip around your opponent’s head, generally a stretch of your lockdown and pulling back their head towards you is enough to secure a submission finish. Every once in a while, your opponent is able to endure the pressure you are placing on them and will not tap out to this submission. If this is the case, your only option to finish the twister is to switch to Defcon-4. This means you will have to ditch the S-grip you’ve formed with your hands and place the crook of your elbow deep behind your opponent’s neck, locking your arms in a figure-4 manner about your opponent’s head. As you stretch out your lockdown leg control and you pull your figure-4 grip the opposite direction of the lockdown, you will find that your opponent will tap quickly.
Now that you understand the pain points along the way to securing the twister submission, you can go forth and try to land a twister on your training partners. As with all submissions that are out of the ordinary, you may want to inquire with your coaches and gym as to whether the twister is a submission that is allowed on the mats. You always want to be safe and not offend anyone by catching them in a submission that was not allowed in the first place. Happy twister-ing!