Watch These Top 5 Highlights Of Gordon Ryan

Gordon Ryan is known as the greatest No-Gi grappler of all time. With his overwhelming success in the competition scene, it is safe to say that Gordon’s technical understanding and knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu are far above the competition. His dominant way of finishing his opponents while maintaining a cold-blooded demeanor keeps him ahead of the game. Without further ado, let’s watch these five grappling highlights from the King himself, Gordon Ryan.


Heel Hook

Gordon is currently the king of ADCC and holds the record for the fastest submission via heel hook in 2022. In his semi-final match against Roosevelt Sousa, Gordon submitted him via an inside heel hook just 11 seconds into the match.

Gordon started the match by applying a right-hand overtie and left-hand wrist control from the standup to set up a single-leg X (SLX) guard entry. As Roosevelt pressed forward, Gordon neutralized him by posting his rear leg on the mat, forcing Roosevelt to square up his stance. After squaring his stance, Gordon immediately pulled guard and applied a left-hand false grip and a right butterfly hook behind Roosevelt’s left leg.

Roosevelt framed Gordon with his right arm, preventing Gordon from getting a deeper entry. Gordon then uses his left knee bump and right leg hook to off-balance Roosevelt for the single leg X entry. Gordon quickly posted his right hand below Roosevelt’s armpit so he couldn’t turn into him. Successfully setting up the single leg X, Gordon hips up and extends the single leg X to off-balance Roosevelt.

Roosevelt turned and attempted to pull away, exposing his heel. Gordon then pulled and kept his inside knee in contact with his top left leg to maintain a closed circuit, preventing Roosevelt from escaping the heel hook.


Shoulder Crunch Sumi Gaeshi Sweep

Gordon is well-known for his shoulder crunch sumi gaeshi sweep from the butterfly guard. Successfully using it at the highest level of competition, world-class grapplers like Felipe Pena and Dillon Danis became victims. Aside from the shoulder crunch used to sweep opponents, it can also be used to set up leg entanglements and enter submission like the triangle.

The Gordon Ryan shoulder crunch sumi gaeshi sweep starts by off-balancing the opponent from the seated open guard. Remember that this sweep requires you to be in a seated position, or it will be difficult to perform once the opponent flattens you on the mat. Assuming you’re sweeping the opponent on the right, off-balancing them forces them to post their arm on the right side of the mat.

As the opponent posts their hand on the mat, you can apply the shoulder crunch initially with head control. After the opponent postures up, freeing their head from being trapped, lock the shoulder crunch with a butterfly grip. A critical detail to remember is to keep your elbows pointing toward the ceiling when applying the shoulder crunch for maximum control.

To successfully finish the sweep, your head must be next to the opponent’s. If the opponent can get their head over, they can quickly free their arm. Finish the sweep by elevating them with your butterfly hook and facing the right side (the side where your shoulder crunch is applied).


Rear Naked Choke

Gordon’s way of controlling the opponent from behind starts with the body triangle. The standard way practitioners hold the opponent from behind is with the seat belt. Gordon uses the body triangle to free his hands to attack both sides, using his arm to threaten a choke. Instead of attacking the arm inside the seatbelt, Gordon first goes for the arm outside (top arm) to bait the opponent into a handfight.

Assuming that you fell on the right side with your body triangle (left leg on top), Gordon first attacks the opponent’s top arm using his left hand. As the opponent uses their top arm (left hand) to defend the choke, Gordon uses his right arm from underneath the armpit and grabs the opponent’s left hand to trap it. This grip on the hand makes it easy for him to feed the hand down and secure it by trapping it with his legs.

Once the left arm is secured, Gordon switches into a straight jacket situation, using his left arm to control the opponent’s bottom arm (right arm). It helps feed the opponent’s bottom arm across to your other hand and also takes the opponent’s strength. From this position, Gordon now locks the body triangle while having the opponent’s arm trapped inside and looks to finish with the rear naked choke.


Armbar Escape

Gordon’s ability to escape from inferior positions makes him the best, leaving no chance for his opponents to finish him. Gordon is known for their training style of positional drilling, where they start sparring from inferior positions or in submission. It helps build confidence, knowing you can constantly re-attack the opponent if you can escape from bad positions.

As seen in the 7:30 minute mark of the video, Gordon successfully escapes Craig Jones’ gritty attempt to finish with the armbar from back control under the EBI overtime rule. The hitchhiker armbar escape is performed by locking your palms together to prevent the opponent from extending your arm. If the opponent manages to break your grip, immediately rotate your thumb down, pointing towards the ground.

Explode and bridge your hips up, rotating your body to the opposite side over your left shoulder. Rotate your body until you are on your knees as you roll over. Quickly pass over the opponent’s leg and take side control to gain top position. Remember in Jiu-Jitsu that if the opponent cannot pin you and get their desired positions, they will have difficulty finishing you.


Reverse De Ashi Harai

The back is the most vulnerable position in Jiu-Jitsu. In standup, the reverse de ashi harai is an efficient way to take your opponents down the mat without exerting energy by lifting them and slamming. Using this technique, Gordon usually takes his opponents down with ease.

Gordon usually gets to the back by using a single leg, which allows him to secure a rear body lock. Typically, Gordon breaks his opponent’s rhythm just before the third step. Using the sole of his foot, Gordon brushes the opponent’s unweighted food across to sweep them. Gordon uses the body lock to rotate the opponent in the opposite direction and drops them to the mat.



Watching the highlights of your favorite grapplers is one way to build a game around your desired style. Gordon’s technical superiority over his competition shows how “effortless” moves may seem at the highest level of competition. Continue drilling and practicing, and you will hit Gordon’s moves in no time!


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