How To Do Standing Back Takes In BJJ

Learning how to attack in the standup is a crucial skill all Jiu-Jitsu practitioners must go through. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that places a lot of emphasis on ground fighting, and it is safe to say that the standup is, in many ways, not as refined compared to styles like Judo, Sambo, and wrestling. For this reason, many BJJ athletes employ techniques found in other styles to help build their standing game. This article will discuss how to do standing back takes in BJJ.


The Value Of Training Your Standup 

In today’s meta, it is simply not enough to just learn the bottom game. Many of today’s champions not only have a strong bottom and positional style but have also built a solid takedown repertoire. Take ADCC, for example. ADCC is, in many ways, the most prestigious No-Gi grappling event there is. It has become quite infrequent to see top-level competitors relying on their guard work to win their matches. Most of the time, you see competitors fight it out in the standup and proceed to ground fighting if one of them gets taken down. 

To be the best in today’s day and age, learning to dominate your opponent while standing holds a lot of value in all grappling rulesets. A unique tactic that many champions use is taking the back while in the standing position. If you think about it, it is an intelligent approach, as it is easier to take someone down once you get to their back; you also have access to their neck in most situations, which gives you the ability to strangle them with little defense. 

Now that we understand the importance of taking the back from the standing position, let’s explore a couple of techniques you can use the next time you train.


Duck Under To Back Control

ADCC competitor Jay Rodriguez teaches the Duck Under to Knee Pinch takedown method in this video. This is a great technique to get to the back if you prefer to use tie-ups when standing. One of the keys to this technique is to always reach for the far hip after you clear the opponent’s arm. This ensures that you get easy access to the back at all times. He also teaches the Knee Pinch, a fantastic follow-up move after you take the back. 

Notice that Jay drops his knee on the mat when executing the technique. For those with bad knees, it is still possible to do the Duck Under without dropping your knee, as long as you can clear the arm you are good to go.


Standing Throw By To Back Control

In this video, William Abreu teaches how to take someone’s back from the collar tie. The Throw By is a fantastic option because it is easy enough to do and will keep you in a relatively safe position regardless of whether you do it successfully or not. A tip to a good Throw By is to shift your body at an angle as you do the technique. Do not stand directly in front of the opponent, especially as you begin to throw their arm sideways.


Arm Drag To Back Control

Giancarlo Bodoni is one of the best Jiu-Jitsu athletes of the past couple of years, winning the -88kg division in the 2022 ADCC World Championship. He shows a cool tripping Arm Drag in this video. The move starts with just any basic Arm Drag. You get a wrist grip on the opponent’s arm as you uppercut your other hand on their armpit and shoulder. From here, step to the side and use your other leg to trip the opponent as you drag their arm across. Doing this forces the opponent to stumble, giving you a clear path to the back. This is a nice variation that can catch many opponents off-guard.


Drilling And Mastery

These techniques are super helpful as they add another layer to your game. Oftentimes, the goal of attacking from the standing position is to take the opponent down, usually using variations of takedowns and trips. Working on taking the opponent’s back from the standup is a viable alternative and can work exceptionally well in Gi or No-Gi grappling.

We recommend you practice these moves on both sides, focusing on smooth technique and execution. Start by drilling without resistance and give attention to the general entries of each technique. Include incremental resistance as you go along, and then work on typical scenarios that may happen. This means that you need to have a chat with your training partners and coach so that they can help you in your pursuit of learning. They can offer insights, corrections, and variations to enhance your understanding and execution of these backtakes. Be open and accepting of their feedback, as these will surely propel your technique to new heights.

Lastly, it is advised that you study specific athletes who love to attack the back. The more you study these greats, the more you’ll appreciate the power of attacking the back from the standing position. Remember that you can be a back expert regardless of size and strength. Many of yesterday’s and today’s best at taking the back have varying weights, sizes, and styles. The more you study these competitors, the better you’ll appreciate the value of the moves you want to master.



Attacking the back is a universal skill that all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes should possess. Regardless of your experience, having the attitude of chasing the back will make you a very dangerous grappler. The Duck Under, Throw By, and Arm Drag are fundamental techniques upon which you can create a strong game.

If you are starting out, the 3 techniques we discussed in this article are more than enough, all things considered. Ensure that you fully understand the mechanics and execution of these techniques, and slowly add new ones as you become more experienced. Become a back-taking machine and add these moves to your arsenal!


You may also like: 

BJJ 101: The Standing Guard Pass

Take The Back: 3 Basic Backtakes For Beginners In BJJ

More in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

What Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

What Is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a grappling-based martial art and a form of self-defense originating from Brazil. It was created by the Gracie brothers after they modified techniques and philosophy from Japanese Jujutsu. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on ground fighting and…

Also On Evolve