Position of the Month: The Back

BJJ Bristol Artemis Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - the Back
Can is setting up a choke from the back on Gem

We’re moving on from the mount to a new position this month in Bristol, the back. Together with mount, this is the highest scoring position in most BJJ tournaments (if they use points), due to its dominance.

The back can be divided into several sub-positions, the most common of which is demonstrated in the picture at the top. This is what people are normally referring to when they talk about ‘the back’. Something called ‘the turtle’ (where your opponent is facing the mat on their elbows and knees, compacted tightly for defence) is another important variation, then there are less commonly used options such as the body triangle.

If you can reach the back, you can attack your opponent with relative impunity, whereas there is almost nothing they can attack in return (be careful of crossing your feet, as that presents your partner with an easy ankle lock opportunity). There are many submissions available to you here, especially chokes, both with and without the gi.

The most iconic choke of all is probably what is known as the ‘rear naked choke’ (because you don’t need to use a gi to apply this choke), or more fancifully as the ‘Mata Leão’, which translates as ‘Lion Killer’. Royce Gracie used this choke to good effect during his seminal fights in the early UFCs and it’s been a staple of mixed martial arts ever since.

We’ll be learning that choke, among others, this April. You will also learn how to maintain and escape the back position, as well as how to bail to mount if you feel your opponent is slipping free. It’s a versatile and powerful offensive platform: we look forward to sharing it with you!

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