If you had to guess what a “knee bar” is, what would you say? A delicious mixture of nougat and peanuts dipped in chocolate? A place where college kids get drunk and dance to ABBA songs? Or would you guess that it’s a mixed-martial arts submission hold that aims to put so much pressure on the knee that it hyperextends, stretching ligaments and snapping the ACL in two?
If you’d go with the last option, you’re probably an MMA fan. If not, welcome to the world of bizarrely named MMA moves that sound all nice and cuddly but are actually completely bloodcurdling. Allow us to pull the curtain back and explain just how misleading these names really are and how disfigured they can leave you.
What it sounds like: Baseball, a brewski or a slice of apple pie
What it is: A figure four armlock where the arm is pinned down and the elbow is cranked upward putting pressure on the shoulder and elbow
What it feels like: Having everyone in America throw a baseball, a can of beer and a pie at your face
What it sounds like: A seedy place to see ladies dance around with pasties on their nips
What it is: A choke hold that traps the opponent’s neck between a fighter’s shin and forearm, using the shin to crush the trachea
What it feels like: Having a go-go dancer stand on your neck in an eight-inch heel
What it sounds like: A device used back in the good ol’ days for carrying out decapitations
What it is: A reverse headlock choke hold where one arm is wrapped around an opponent’s head and under his neck with the hands clasped together; pressure is formed by pulling upward to create a choking sensation
What it feels like: An actual guillotine that’s so dull from cutting off heads, it only bounces off your neck
4. Rear Naked Choke
What it sounds like: An urban-dictionary-style sex move
What it is: A choke hold that looks a lot like the sleeper hold used in professional wrestling
What it feels like: A naked bodybuilder choking you with his rear
What it sounds like: A dress worn by an old Asian lady
What it is: Similar to the Americana, but in reverse–the arm is bent behind the opponent’s back and the arm is bent backward and away from him. Looks a lot like the hammerlock that cops use.
What it feels like: An old Asian lady kicking the s*** out of you
6. Toe Hold
What it sounds like: An adorable game of “This little piggy”
What it is: Holding the foot by the toes with one hand and putting the other hand under the opponent’s Achilles tendon while grabbing the wrist, then bending the tendon until it pops
What it feels like: Having a 400 pound hog naw on your Achilles until your foot falls off
7. Heel Hook
What it sounds like: A really unfortunate pirate prosthetic
What it is: A type of leg lock that can permanently damage the knee if applied long enough. The legs are wrapped around the leg of an opponent and the foot is tucked underneath the armpit. With the legs holding the opponent’s leg in place, the forearm is used to twist the heel upward and puts severe torque on the ankle and up to the knee. The great Anderson Silva (who hasn’t lost in forever) famously tapped out to this move.
What it feels like: Getting hit in the knee with a pirate’s cannonball
8. Can Opener
What is sounds like: The thing you use when you want pork and beans
What it is: A neck crank that bends the head toward the chest
What it feels like: Getting hit in the back of the head with a can of pork and beans–repeatedly
9. Gator Roll
What it sounds like: A strangely textured “daily special” at your local sushi spot
What it is: An arm triangle in which the arm goes under the armpit and around the opponent’s neck and clasps around the opposite arm’s bicep; pressure is applied by squeezing the biceps while the opponent is rolled over onto his back, increasing the tension until he goes nighty-night
What it feels like: Making love to an alligator
What it sounds like: A topsy-turvy contortion game that’s fun for the whole family!
What it is: A sideways body bend and neck crank that begins from a back mount with one leg intertwined with the opponent’s, and arms wrapped around the neck, with his arm trapped behind your head. The head is pulled while the legs hold the bottom half of the opponent in place, thus creating a twister effect.
What it feels like: Watching the 1996 Helen Hunt/Bill Paxton blockbuster “Twister”