GB Technique – Better Back Control

The back mount is considered the most dominant position on the ground in jiu-jitsu. And rightly so. The #1 most successful submission in professional MMA is the rear naked choke (RNC) and in the gi in the advanced divisions, we see a lot of taps to the “Bow and Arrow” collar choke.

Yet many students will quietly admit that they don’t feel confident in their rear mount. They feel like they should be getting a lot more submissions when they do manage to take their opponents back.

And I was one of those students. I got to the back often enough and would try to get a choke before my opponent squirmed lose and escaped the position. More often than not my opponents escaped and I felt that I missed a golden opportunity to catch a submission from the back.

This would not do. I set a goal to focus on back mount for as long as it took to make my back mount a hazardous place for my opponents.

Here are 3 things that made a huge difference in my back control and ability to submit from the back mount.

1) Control first, submit second. In fact this is solid advice for any of the offensive positions in jiu-jitsu. Many jiu-jitsu students are so excited when they get to a dominant position that they immediately start to attack a submission. However, they have not yet fully controlled the opponent who is able to escape.

Instead, try to maintain the rear mount as your first priority. When training and you get a back mount say to yourself “Ok, I’m going to try to hold the position. Nevermind the choke for now.” Pay attention to how your opponent is going to try to escape and learn how to shut down their avenues of escape. You will develop more skill and confidence in being able to secure the back mount and keep it. Focus on just holding back mount for as long as you can. The submissions will come later.

2) Different types of control

Most students focus on the hooks with the feet (as this is the criteria to be awarded the 4 points in bjj competition) in the hips as the most important part of back mount control. I understood that in principle…but in rolling my opponents seemed to put out those hooks all too easily and get out.

In closer study of the masters of back control, they were focused more on the “seat belt” grip and keeping their chest glued to the opponent’s upper back. Making a tight connection and following the opponent whichever direction they tried to move or turn transformed my back control.

Yes, the hooks ARE important – especially to restrict the opponent from twisting out when both of your arms are involved in trying to choke them. But putting a greater emphasis on chest to back “seat belt” control made the biggest difference in my ability to stay on the back.

3) Choke to get hooks / hooks to get the choke.

This tip given by my Gracie Barra instructor helped me overcome many of the defenses of my opponent.

Experienced training partners will prevent you from getting space to put in your hooks. When your opponent is defending your hooks by closing the space with their elbows, threaten their neck and when they move to protect their neck, they will open space for you to get your hooks.

In competition, we often see competitors using their hands in an attempt to stop the opponent’s hooks (and giving up the critical 4 points) and thereby exposing their neck to the choke submission.

We saw this exact situation play out when GOAT Roger Gracie choked multiple time World Champion Marcus “Buchecha” in a superfight. Buchecha tried to block Roger’s hook and left his neck open. The mistake was fatal. It works at the highest levels of jiu-jitsu.

You may use the 2 main parts of back mount – the hooks and your grip around the neck “seat belt” to work in a complimentary fashion.

Try these tips to get a better back mount.