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BJJ BANANA SPLIT
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BJJ BANANA SPLIT

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has become one of the most popular forms of Martial Arts in the modern day. With the televised presence of professional grappling throughout America and Abu Dhabi, the new age of No Gi grappling is beginning to take over. Events like the ADCC, Subversiv, Polaris, EBI, and Combat Jiu Jitsu have all become mainstream advocates for the new innovative art of grappling. 

What this article covers:

The No Gi format has basically become a hybrid of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as it incorporates elements of Judo, Wrestling, and Sambo. Most world class athletes in these formats are masters of the ashi garami position, as they heavily favour the leg lock system over more traditional submission moves.

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jiu jitsu banana split

Eddie Bravo is one of the pioneers of the modern No Gi grappling format. With the systems that he devised, and teaches to his 10th planet Jiu Jitsu academy, they have become iconic in the modern world of BJJ. Some of the most dangerous bjj submission moves come from the mind of Eddie Bravo, with submissions like the twister, the calf slicer, the banana split, and the gogoplata. Eddie has developed systems like the rubber guard, the twister side control, the lockdown to electric chair, and the truck, and with all of these movements, the outreach of these techniques have spread on a global scale.

10TH PLANET JIU JITSU SYSTEMS 

Eddie Bravo is the creator of the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu academy. His creative thinking has revolutionised No Gi grappling in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Mixed Martial Arts. The rubber guard system is an intricate web of tricks, and traps devised from a plan to comprehensively control an opponent. Eddie proved himself after defeating Royler Gracie with a triangle in the ADCC, after using his series of controls. The 10th Planet systems have proven to be used for some of the highest percentage submissions in bjj. The rubber guard involves a series of guard techniques where an athlete will control their opponent in what is called mission control. From here the athlete will break down their opponent's posture by holding on to their leg that is clamped down across the back of their neck. Eddie devised a series of intricate names for each transition that moved from mission control into submission attacks. Moves like the zombie, the pump, and the meat hook all lead to different positions like new york, crackhead control, the invisible collar, and chill dog.

The twister side control is another comprehensive series of controls, and attacks that start from the side control position. Traditionally an athlete will cross face, and stay heavy with either a long, or short base to maintain a side control position. With the twister side control an athlete will be on their hip facing the legs of their opponent, as they look to initiate a leg entanglement. This enables an athlete to hook the top leg of their opponent, and roll over their body trapping the opposite foot, and sliding into a twister position. This is one of the most iconic submissions that Eddie Bravo has devised, and his unique stylings have made this position extremely famous throughout the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu community.

The lockdown is another comprehensive system that Eddie Bravo has devised while playing half guard. Eddie was constantly being smashed with shoulder pressure from his opponents, so he took the old scorpion control position, and revamped it into his own lockdown series. The lockdown is a half guard position that involves an athlete to secure a triangle around their opponent's leg, with their free foot hooking in behind the shin. This is a good way to extend their opponent's leg, or elevate it up off the mat, making it easy to whip up into positions like the electric chair, where the athlete can initiate a series of different submissions. The lockdown is a great position to also utilise different styles of sweeps, or calf slicing submissions.

The truck system has become one of Eddie's most valuable tools in accessing a wide variety of submission moves. With the popularity of the leg entanglement game, the truck system is just another added entry into these entanglements. There are many entries into the truck like a roll from twister side control, or just basically shooting in behind the open guard of an athlete. The truck can also be entered from the lockdown, as traditionally a lockdown will get an opponent to the electric chair, and then into the truck position. Eddie has a productive series of steps that help an athlete map their way into control positions, and inevitably find submissions like the twister, the knee bar, the banana split, and many other iconic high level submission moves.

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WHAT IS THE BANANA SPLIT

The banana split is one of the more basic jiu jitsu submissions in Eddie's arsenal of attacks. The banana split is basically a groin stretch that forces an opponent to do the splits. Some opponents are too flexible to be caught in this type of submission, which is why the submission is more of a gateway into other submissions like the calf slicer, the twister, the toe hold, and the knee bar. The most common way to achieve the banana split submission is from the lockdown position. An athlete will secure a triangle over the half guard, placing their hook inside of their opponent's shin. From here they will whip up their opponent to shoot deep under the opposite leg, placing it onto their shoulder. All the athlete has to do to finish the banana split is to extend their lockdown on the leg in the opposite direction, as they arch their shoulder up underneath the thigh of their opponent's opposite leg. This can force an opponent into the split's position, where an inflexible opponent will be forced to tap.

USING THE BANANA SPLIT TO OFFSET BALANCE

The banana split is basically a move that can extend an opponent's legs to the point where they are doing the splits. Commonly an athlete is underneath an opponent, while they are attempting this submission, and this will often cause the opponent to lose their balance. This means that an opponent that is trying to pass the guard, while an athlete burrows in to a banana split entry, will often find themselves being swept onto the mat. Furthermore the banana split is only one step away from the electric chair sweep, where all the athlete has to do is bring their head to the outside of the hip, and use their lockdown to whip the opponent down onto the mat. This can be an extremely high percentage sweep, and will allow an athlete to come up on top into a dominant control position. They will also be able to reroll themselves into the truck position, or a twister attempt. The banana split may not be the most high percentage submission, but it does work as a great transition for athletes wanting to attack the legs, or even the back control position.

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DIFFERENT ENTRIES INTO THE BANANA SPLIT

The most common entry into the banana split is from the lockdown position, and as previously explained this can be used to enter the electric chair position to execute sweeps, or the submission. There are other ways to enter into a banana split like securing twister side control from on top of an opponent. The best way to achieve this submission is to hook the top leg of the opponent with the athlete's bottom leg, and lock it down placing their hook inside the shin. Now they can reach over the top of the hips, securing the opposite foot, and rolling over their shoulder into the truck position. From here they have reached the electric chair, and the athlete can easily extend the leg, creating another banana split jiu jitsu submission.

Another way to enter into the banana split is when their opponent is in the turtle position. From here the athlete will secure a cross body ride position, which is when they place their hook through the leg, and over the shin of their opponent, while leaving their outside foot free, as they are facing toward their opponent's hip. Now the athlete will basically fight like they are going for a twister, as they lay their back across their opponent's back,  and shoot their hand around the opposite hip, and underneath the leg, clasping both hands together.  The next step is to put significant pressure into the opponent's back, as they look to lift their opponent's leg upwards, and extend their opposite leg out, pulling them over onto their back. To finish the move the athlete only has to secure a triangle on their opponent's leg, while they pull their opposite knee towards the mat, and this will create enough tension in the groins, causing the opponent to tap.

THE CROTCH RIPPER VARIATION 

The crotch ripper is basically a very similar version of the banana split, with only a slight difference in the finishing mechanic of the submission. All the setups are the same, as the athlete will use different variations to roll into a truck position, as they utilise the lockdown on one of their opponent's legs. From the truck position the athlete has one of the legs secured in the lockdown, and will use their legs to extend up, and away, as they secure the other leg just like the banana split. Instead of pulling the knee toward the mat to create a split like position, the athlete will push the knee in the opposite direction forcing their groins into a cross over position. This will create enough tension in the groins that the opponent will have to tap. The crotch ripper can feel even more deadly, because of the significant torque it puts into the groin muscles. This submission is also good because if the opponent curls their foot into their body then this makes it hard to finish the banana split, but with a curled leg all the athlete has to do is push the knee in the opposite direction, and extend their legs to create a crotch ripper scenario.

IS THE BANANA SPLIT A HIGH PERCENTAGE SUBMISSION

Like most submissions in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, they all need a period of trial and error. Trialing out different submissions in a competitive scene takes time to gather enough evidence to see clearly if it works more often than it doesn't. The banana split is one of those submissions that can only be accessed from a leg entanglement position. Although there are entries from side control and the turtle, this system is not a high percentage bjj submission from mount, or the back control position. Securing a banana split from the truck can work against an older athlete, or one that has very little flexibility in their groins. The problem with this is that in the modern era most athletes do extensive strength and conditioning, flexibility, and mobility exercises. This means that it can be extremely hard to pull off a banana split on a higher level athlete in a competition match. It is more likely that an athlete will transition from an attempted banana split into either a calf slicer, a twister entry, or a toe hold submission. This does not mean that the banana split  wont work, it just means it is a submission that is on the low percentage side of the scale.

HOW TO INCREASE THE VIABILITY OF SUBMISSIONS LIKE THE BANANA SPLIT 

Because the banana split is a low percentage submission maneuver it becomes incredibly hard to pull off these submissions against stronger, or higher level athletes. This does not mean that an athlete can't train their body enough to be able to pull off these types of tricky movements. In most cases an opponent that will not tap to a banana split doesn't necessarily mean it's because of their flexibility. Usually it is because an opponent has incredibly strong legs, and trying to pull an opponent's leg with two arms, may not always be possible. All athletes must condition their bodies extensively, and train functional movements for their respective sports.

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banana split jiu jitsu

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is no different, and involves athletes to work extensively on their leg strength, including extension, and flexion.  Athletes will also need to work on their upper body strength, and put significant time into their arms. Using arms, and legs to try and pry open an opponent's legs, takes a bit more ingenuity than just muscular strength. Athletes will need to use their core muscles, and the full extension of their spine to open up their opponent to the point where they need to tap. Even the most flexible opponents will tap eventually, because only a select few individuals can actually do the splits. This is something that athletes will need to work on in their spare time, and in the modern era of grappling most athletes do extensive strength and conditioning work in order to be stronger in a competitive match.

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