The Banana Split Bjj Position: Did You Order a Tap, Sir?

Last updated on 02.05.2023 by

The banana split BJJ submission is an unusual way of tapping an opponent out that involves attacking the ligaments of your crotch, tearing most of the soft tissue in the region with unprecedented force. Contrary to popular belief, the move is legal at all adult belt levels. 

What is a BJJ Banana Split? 

The banana split submission is a leg attack of sorts, given the positioning and grips. Unlike conventional leg locks, though, it does not target a joint on the leg but rather the soft tissues (ligaments and tendons) that help connect the hips. 

The simplest way of anatomically defining the area that the banana split BJJ submission targets would be to describe it as the crotch. 

The move originates from wrestling and is yet another one in a string of moves that wrestlers used to pin people for the win, which got converted to submission holds in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In wrestling, it is also known as a variation of the spladle. 

The submission happens when you use your entire body to stretch apart the opponent’s thighs in two different directions, causing significant damage to the fragile soft tissues of the crotch. The less flexible an opponent is, the greater the pain will be. 

As long as you can get the optimal grip configuration with your legs and arms, you’ll be able to tap pretty much anyone with this often-shunned submission hold. 

How to Do the Banana Split BJJ Submission

Finishing the banana split BJJ submission will require you to have a basic understanding of the truck position.

The truck position is to finish the banana split like the back is to finish the rear naked choke – you can’t get one without the other. It also means that you’ll be attacking a powerful submission hold from a stable controlling position, increasing the frequency of successful finishes for the move in question. 

I’ll try to explain how the banana split BJJ finish works in the least complicated way I can think of. Imagine your partner is lying on their shoulders, both shoulder blades on the ground, with their hips and legs in the air. The closest example is the bottom of a stack pass. 

Now sit perpendicular to the opponent with the side of your hip touching their butt. You will use your legs to put a triangle on the far leg, aiming to lock the triangle towards the opponent’s butt rather than their head. 

Next, you want to control the things of the near leg, which you do by establishing a palm-to-palm grip just above knee level on the near side leg. This gets you into the banana split position. 

For the finish to work, you’ll want to push with your legs as you pull with your arms, aiming to do these motions in completely different directions. 

Pushing with the legs is easy when you unlock the triangle and use the free leg to push onto the insole of the other foot. 

For the pulling portion, you can simply pull with the palm-to-palm grip, go for a Kimura grip on the ankle, or use a figure four rear-naked-choke-like grip. If you’re going for the rear-naked-choke grip, get the inside arm first and reinforce it with the other one (just like with the leg triangle).

Banana Split BJJ Variations

The great thing about the banana split BJJ submission is that you can set it up from top or bottom, given that you’re looking for a controlling position first (truck) rather than just a Hail Mary submission hold. 

Entities From Top 

Arguably the most common entry is going for the truck (and eventual banana split) versus the turtle position

On top, you want to be facing toward the opponent’s butt (reverse turtle). Your near-side knee tries to go in front of the opponent’s near-side knee as you trap the far leg at the hip level by establishing a palm-to-palm grip variation. 

Sitting back down will load your opponent’s hips on top of you, landing you in the truck, with the banana split BJJ submission readily available. 

Another useful and very cool-looking entry to the truck that you can rely upon is rolling from top-side control. From twister side control (reverse Kesa Gatame), the goal is to trap the opponent’s far leg with your near leg. 

This will open up the Twister roll with you falling over the opponent’s hips and getting your shoulder blades on the ground. The leg configuration will take care of everything else, landing you in the truck with immediate access to the banana split. 

Entries from Bottom

The half guard is the best bottom position for setting up banana split attacks. 

A staple 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu sweep-submission transition is the electric chair sweep from lockdown half guard. 

The lockdown works when you trap the opponent’s half guard leg with both your legs while lying supine. You aim to get as deep an underhook as possible underneath the thigh of the opposite side leg. 

This puts them in a banana split-like position from the get-go and allows the sweep to happen. Making the opponent do splits means they have no base, and it is easy to arrive on top.

You can do the banana split BJJ submission finish from the top by keeping your legs entangled in the lockdown and pressing with your shoulder on the inside of the thigh of their free leg.

You can also set up a truck entry from the bottom half guard by using an rm drag or any pass-by that will allow you to do an upper body sit up next to your opponent. This provides access to their trapped leg, which you can pull back if you grip the foot. 

You also can get banana split BJJ finishes from the truck by getting into position from the back mount when your opponent’s choke defense is really on point. 

BJJ Banana Split vs.Crotch Ripper

Finally, just to clarify a common misconception, let’s distinguish between the banana split and the crotch ripper resubmission. 

They both happen from the same position (truck) with slight grip variations, but their anatomical targets differ. The crotch ripper attacks the hip joint and is rotational in nature, while the banana split BJJ submission is the soft tissue in between the two hip joints and is linear in terms of application of pressure. 

Final Thoughts

Should you add the banana split BJJ submission to your arsenal? Of course. It is unorthodox and unexpected and will help you get taps out of people who ordinarily can evade your submissions. Even if you fail with the banana split attack itself, you can follow up on it by attacking from the truck, Twister, or back mount and keep your opponent in this loop until one of your submissions gets the tap.