Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Respect the Game: VinRokk's Randomized Thoughts on TKZ's Twister win, Wrestling, and American Jiu Jitsu

Jung "The Korean Zombie" Chan-Sung's vicious submission victory over sluggish brawler Leonard Garcia at last weekend's UFN 24 has sent a buzz amongst technique critics. When Zombie hit the "twister," one of Eddie "The Twister" Bravo's signature submissions, in front of the Key Arena crowd, it became even more apparent to me that amateur wrestling was truly making its mark in mixed martial arts. This is an argument that I've maintained ever since Matt Hughes' "Schultz Choke" win over Ricardo Almeida last summer.

Anyway, I'll get back to the wrestling roots of this technique later...

In the video below, 10 Planet Jiu Jitsu founder Eddie Bravo analyzes the twister, and note that he does give credence to his short-lived wrestling career for it's influence on the move:



As for the wrestling origins of the twister, as Bravo noted, the twister is rooted in amateur wrestling's guillotine (not to be confused with the guillotine choke as used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). Ehow.com contributer Gregory Hamel offers a steb-by-step instruction on how to perform the guillotine:

How to Do a Guillotine in Wrestling:

1. Secure a leg ride. From the top, hook your right leg inside your opponent's right thigh, or left leg inside of his left thigh, and use your toes to cup his ankle.

2. Reach across and grab the arm opposite the side that your leg ride is on, then pull it back and up so that you can slip your head under it, at or just above the elbow. While leg riding, you will be at a diagonal to your opponent, so attacking the arm across from your leg ride is natural, since it is sitting right in front of you. The difficult part is overpowering your opponent's arm so that you can get your head under it.

3. Use your head to lift your opponent's arm and turn him. As you turn him, keep grabbing the wrist of the arm you are attacking, and snake your free arm--the one on the same side as your leg ride--underneath his arm and around the back of his head, so that your palm is resting across the back of his neck.

4. Rock backward, so that your opponent goes to his back, and has his head laying over the arm that you placed behind his head. Now the arm that you attacked originally will be pinned under your body.

5. Release the wrist of the arm that is pinned and bring that arm over the top of your opponent and lock it with the arm you have underneath his head. With your arms locked, straighten them out as much as possible to tighten the guillotine. Keep squeezing until the referee stops you. Remember to keep your leg ride hooked in throughout the move, as it prevents him from rolling out.



Need a visual? This high school wrestler gets some! Peep the mean guillotine at work at the 1:40 mark.


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Variations, stipulations, and other random guillotine/twister stuff.

There are obvious differences in the set-up, application, and purpose of the twister/guillotine -- the most obvious being sport of use. In wrestling, the guillotine is used as a pinning combination. It should also be noted that in wrestling the guillotine the performer does not utilize this technique from their back as this could result in one pinning himself.

On the other hand, in MMA or submission sports, the twister can be performed from one's back. In fact, it is probably more effective from this position. With that considered, I will point out that Leonard Garcia was attempting to defend his back at the time that TKZ locked up the twister. Any proficient mixed martial artist or submission artist knows that when their back is taken one escape option is to get your back to the mat and face your opponent. However, this escape can often lead to a twister situation, especially when one leg is "locked down."

As for my amatuer wrestling argument, I think that viral, highlight reel techniques like the TKZ's UFN 24 twister, Hughes' Schultz choke, or Daniel Roberts' gator roll anaconda at UFC 121 (which was really just a jiu jitsu style-cement mixer variation) stand as proof of the impact and influence that wrestling has had in MMA and combat sports in general. Call it BJJ, 10th Planet, Catch, whatever you want, but essentially what we are seeing is what Jake Shields has labeled as "American Jiu Jitsu." The aggressive submission style of guys like Hughes and Shields is as much wrestling (if not more) as it is jiu jitsu. When you have Brazilian-born jiu jitsu practicioners commissioning the skills of NCAA All Americans to help them improve their wrestling -- well, let's just say 'the proof is in the pudding.' The dynamics of the fight and submission games are changing because of wrestling, and as the game further progresses we will only see more remixed and renamed versions of funky amateur wrestling moves.

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