There are a lot of submissions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that are absolutely terrible…you know, when you’re the victim of the technique. There are 5 in particular that scare the piss out of me when I’m caught in them and I’m sure any practitioner has felt the same at some point. Here are the top 5 grappling techniques that suck to be caught in and why:
#5 “BREAKING THE TWIG”
I know, you have no idea what “breaking the twig” means. Well, Sensei Bill Closs (Judo black belt and BJJ brown belt) showed me this one. By “showed” I mean “just did it to me”. I was unable to locate a picture of the technique on the internet so I’m going to describe it for you in such intrinsic detail that your eyes will suck back into your head and start searching your brain to find out where this explosion of knowledge came from.
WHAT IT IS: Say your opponent is face-down with hands in collar to protect against the choke. Mount that guy and insert 4 fingers from each hand inside his collar on the side of his neck. With palms now facing you, “crack” that imaginary twig between your hands by digging your knuckles into the neck as your thumbs come inward and up to the roof. Think of the last time you tried to bend a piece of rebar on your knee on a dare…same movement.
WHY THIS SUCKS: Having this done is the single most painful thing I’ve ever felt in my short BJJ career. When Bill used me as a uke (example) for the class, he did it 3 times and my neck had lumps for the next ten days.
WHAT IF FEELS LIKE: Think of the last time you had a really sore throat, then swallow nails and run over your neck with a bulldozer – all at the same time. Seriously…this fuggin hurts.
#4 BOW AND ARROW CHOKE
WHAT IT IS: It’s known in judo as the “Okuri-eri-jime”. It has many variations including the above pictured (which isolates the spine). In this version, one leg is brought over the torso while pulling up on the nearest leg. This bends the spine and isolates the victims movement. Lean back a little and pull on the cross collar and wait for the tap.
WHY IT SUCKS: The torque on this thing is just shy of…well, a bow and arrow. Look at that guy’s head – it’s put on crooked and his face is a shade of red that Crayola hasn’t thought up yet. You can’t move, your head feels like its going to pop and the other guy just smiles and waits…which is hurtful in itself.
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE: Shit. It feels like shit.
#3 HEEL HOOK
WHAT IT IS: A heel hook basically has 3 points of contact – Isolation of the thigh, isolation of the end of the foot (toes) and a pulling up of the heel. You can see all three in the picture with the “applier” isolating the red-guy’s thigh with his knee, trapping the toes with his armpit and yanking up on the heel.
WHY IT SUCKS: Don’t let the name fool you, this has little pain if any on the heel. What it does have is an extraordinary amount of pain on the knee. What the technique is doing is basically grabbing everything from your knee down and turning it. Think of holding a bottle of soda and twisting off the cap – the cap being your lower leg. If you don’t tap, you absolutely destroy your knee and you’ll be walking so bad that this dog over here will have a hard time walking you.
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE: It feels like taking a warm swim on a July evening.
..then JAWS coming along and ripping your legs off.
WHAT IT IS: This is the move that you see people get crippled with…seriously. I’m so scared of this that I tap out nearly the instant it’s put on – strictly for safety reasons. It’s basically a headlock that when done properly, torques your neck and cuts off your carotid arteries. When done improperly, it snaps your vertebrae and you don’t walk anymore.
WHY IT SUCKS: I don’t hate the move itself. What I hate is those people…you know, the ones we’ve all competed against…they go for the guillotine and when they get it, they torque the shit out of your neck with no regard for safety or technique. Basically I don’t trust people enough to stay in this…especially if they wear “Tapout” everywhere they go and have only had a month of real training…would you?
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE: The Incredible Hulk stuffing your head in the dirt, then kicking your body off.
#1 CRUCIFIX (with collar choke)
WHAT IT IS: It is a position where your arms are locked up, your feet are useless, and you’re being choked all at the same time. Otherwise known as “being completely fucked”.
WHY IT SUCKS: Well, click here to see it in action…pay attention to the 0:45 mark where he’s going out. You’re literally at the complete mercy of the person doing this to you, because if you notice, your hands aren’t in a position to tap on anything, and being choked you can’t yell “taptaptap!”. Ambars, heel-hooks, guillotines – you can at least struggle against them or use some technique to try to counter. With this, you are just locked up and waiting for your impending doom. Hell, it’s so good and secure that Bruce Lee used it. As you can see in the clip, there is no gi, so Bruce just rolls the dude over and chokes him with his own damn chest – which is why he’s Bruce Lee.
WHAT IT FEELS LIKE: Getting choked by a ghost that thinks you banged its ghost wife.