There is one thing that seems to be the rule of thumb with back attacks; if you get there, it’s your game to lose. Meaning that if your opponent manages to escape your back attack, it’s because you messed up, rather than some amazing technique or skill on their part. I’ve always been taught to look for back, because being a much smaller person, it’s a better dominant position for me than mount or side-control. If someone is significantly bigger than me and I pass the guard into either of the two above, unless I’m positionally very secure, they can probably just bench press me off. From the back they don’t have this option, so their strength in that sense, is useless.
Anyway, this week in class we’ve been revising back attacks, look at chokes and how to get into them, both in gi and no gi. In the gi there is a diverse range of options for chokes (not just from the back), including the bow and arrow choke and the alltime favourite – the Ezekiel choke. It doesn’t matter how many cool chokes you know, however, if you can’t get to the back and stay there for long enough to execute them, then you’re not going to win. Position before submission and all that.
We were specifically looking at the “chairsit position” with a harness grip, and drilling it a lot to make sure that if we ever found ourselves in a back position, we could recognise how to translate that to a finish. After learning a few of the techniques in a more static manner, we added some escapes for the bottom player to try, and in doing so make the attacker regain their dominant position. If the bottom player manages to escape their hips over your bottom leg, then there is no point trying to continue with whatver submission you were going for. They’re going to escape and probably either gain side control or mount, neither of which is a brilliant place for you to be in.
A further idea that we discussed is that when attacking the back from the turtle position, if for whatever reason you’re not in a stable enough position to attempt a spiral ride, then change to attack the legs and the hips, rather than the upper body. If you have one hook in you can attempt a rolling back attack (or if your nifty and know what you’re doing there are berimbolo options as well). If they’re putting too much pressure into you to achieve a rolling back attack, then you can use their pressure and pull them into (the lovely named) crotch-lock position. Both of these position end up with the legs entangled, at which point you can pull them onto you, whilst not letting go of the body. If you can’t get a decent enough grip quick enough then your opponent may be able to turtle again. If this is the case simply re-roll and do it again. Rinse and repeat until you can gain positional control and secure the back take. Only then is it worth attacking the submission, because without proper positional control, you’re probably not going to finish the sub successfully.
We’ve looked at the nuances of an RNC (rear naked choke) before. I’m not entirely sure why it’s called a “naked” choke when it can be done in both gi and no-gi… anybody fancy enlightening me? Either way, it’s a sub that a lot of people think “oh, that sounds easy enough!” but the actually ins and outs are a bit harder to grasp. For example, if your choking hand is not hidden underneath the other, then it is easier to grip and pull away; if you don’t get cheek to cheek (therefore leaving a gap), the defender can grip and defend. There are many tiny adjustments that make getting and securing the RNC a lot easier, and it’s worth working through each tiny little stage with your coach or a teammate to make sure you’ve got each bit down quickly and yet precisely.
I think I’ve finished one gold medal match with an RNC. It was a sub only competition and it was in the ninth minute. I remember desperately hoping that she would tap, because my arms were about to gas! Either way she did and I took gold, which was pretty sweet.
How much success do you have from the back?
Until next time,