If you’ve been practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for awhile, you’ve probably heard your professor emphasize the importance of back control. Back control is considered to be the most dominant position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because of the easy access to many chokes and joint submissions.
In fact, legendary BJJ coach John Danaher believes that the back gives you the best angle out of all positions to attack, “from here, the attacker has considerable mechanical and tactical advantages that should enable him to prevail in most cases,” he says. Thus, he believes that one of the most important skills one should develop is “the ability to work your way behind your opponent and stay there long enough with sufficient control to do damage or finish the match.” Not only does back control give you the best chances of finishing the match, it also awards you maximum points (if you are competing).
Marcelo Garcia, perhaps one of the greatest pound-for-pound competitors, is one of the best examples of why back control works. He has submitted some of the most legendary names in the sport (and some even almost twice his size) with attacks from the back. If you’ve been looking to add superior back control and finishes from the back to your arsenal, read on below to find out more about back control.
How To Get There
There are many ways to get back control, but what you should have in mind is a game plan that would always lead to you ending up in this position. With this being said, you need to have several good set-ups to get to the back.
In this video, 7x BJJ World Champion Rafael Mendes shows how to take the back from the De La Riva and berimbolo, a move that he has used many times in competition. Watch how he uses the belt to control his opponent, to ensure that he is able to secure the back mount.
In this video, BJJ Legend Marcelo Garcia shows how to take the back from the arm drag, one of his most famous techniques. Notice how Marcelo uses the closer leg as the first hook instead of the far leg. According to Marcelo, using the closer leg is much easier than trying to use the far leg.
How To Secure The Back Mount
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of the back mount is learning how to secure it. Many beginners immediately transition to submissions or forget to put their hooks in, which causes them to lose the position. Below are some important aspects to consider when trying to secure the back mount:
You should always ensure that your chest and the middle of your opponent’s spine is aligned. The more aligned they are, the easier it will be for you to control your opponent and the less of a chance they have of escaping.
If you are too high or too low, your opponent has a better chance of recovering guard or escaping.
According to 2x BJJ World Champion Bruno Pucci, one of the best ways to control your opponent is by constantly moving your hooks. Of course, you should move according to the way your opponent moves and stay conscious of your alignment. Your hooks should always be attacking, which will help you secure that choke you want to get. When you use your hooks, you should always aim to cause discomfort for your opponent in order to break his/her will to defend.
If you are looking to always end a spar by submission, your best bet is to take the back. Regardless of your size, it gives you the best opportunity to attack. By taking the back, as Danaher says, you take advantage of the human body’s inability to deal with threats from the rear. We should learn how to take advantage of the human body’s asymmetries and threaten the areas that are weaker or more vulnerable than others. Learning this, says Danaher, would certainly give anyone the upper hand in any match.