The back position is, by far, the strongest position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Getting the back means that you have control over the opponent’s upper body. It gives you the ability to manage their movements and, at the same time, attack with chokes and armlocks. Imagine a situation where you have access to their neck and arms, and your opponent does not!
As with any position in BJJ, attacking options from the back will depend on what’s available, but since you have direct access to the neck, chokes are almost always the first attack you’ll do. This article will explore some of the sneakiest chokes you can apply from the back position.
Basics Of The Back Position
Before we talk about the submission options you can perform from the back, let’s discuss the back position first. Getting the back means that you establish chest-to-back connection relative to your opponent. This means that your chest should be touching your opponent’s back area. This ensures that you stay in the prime spot to monitor their movements.
Your arms and legs also play an essential role in maintaining back control. An excellent way to secure the position is by using the seatbelt grip. The seatbelt grip is where you lock your opponent’s torso in a similar configuration to a locked-in seatbelt. One arm should loop beside the neck, and the other starts from under the arm. This grip prevents your opponent from sliding their shoulders to the mat in an attempt to escape.
The primary function of your legs is to block their hips from sliding to the side. You do this by inserting your hooks and placing them near the hip. There are also more advanced ways to control the body, such as using body triangles. Regardless of the technique you choose, you are good to go for as long as you prevent their hip from slipping out of position.
Use the chest-to-back connection in conjunction with the seatbelt and hooks, and you’ll surely turn a lot of heads in your gym.
Chokes You Can Perform From The Back
Rear Naked Choke
We can’t talk about the best submissions from the back without mentioning the king of submissions, the rear naked choke (RNC). BJJ World Champion Teco Shinzato from the Evolve Fight Team shares his way of applying the technique.
The rear naked choke is an incredible submission to finish a fight. The main goal is to restrict the blood flow to the head by blocking the side of the neck. Alternatively, you can also apply pressure to the front of the neck to directly attack the windpipe.
The video did not explicitly teach the grip transitions as it is best to have a separate discussion on it. For now, it is best to focus on the mechanics of the actual finish to understand how effective the submission can be. The rear naked choke is so powerful that most top-level grapplers use it as their first option once the back is secured.
The short choke is a nice follow-up if you have trouble finishing with the RNC. This is a choke that is meant to crush the front part of the neck; therefore, be mindful when applying this move to your training partners.
In this video, Gustavo Gasperin shows the basics of the short choke. Notice that he blocks his forearm behind the opponent’s back as he tightens the choke. This increases the pressure of the submission and makes it difficult for your opponent to strip your choking grip.
Bow And Arrow Choke
The bow and arrow choke is perhaps the best gi strangle from the back position. The pressure you can generate from this submission is so good that you can quickly put people to sleep if they don’t tap early. It is also a versatile technique that you can apply even if you don’t have full back control.
In this video, BJJ World Champions Bismarck Gomes and Gamal Hassan from the EVOLVE Fight Team.. The critical step with the bow and arrow choke is to get a good initial grip on the collar and to access the back by either pushing with your chest or establishing back control at the onset. Step your leg towards the hip, grab the top leg near the knee and drop back as you pull the collar. This should look like you are pulling back an arrow from a bow, hence the name. You can place your leg near the opponent’s bottom shoulder line to add more torque as you pull.
Rear Triangle Choke
The last technique is the rear triangle, also known as the ura sankaku. The rear triangle choke is a solid addition to your submission game and is usually applied from the weak side back control.
Stephan Kesting and Rob Biernacki show the basics of the technique in this video demonstration. As mentioned above, the rear triangle usually begins from the weak side back control or when you are underhooking the opponent’s bottom arm. They show different variations, but the basic premise is that you can get the rear triangle by scooting your hip out and shooting the triangle leg from the top shoulder.
Be mindful of your leg position relative to your opponent’s head. Remember that you need to block the sides of the neck to maximize the finishing power of the submission.
These techniques will surely improve your submission rate from the back position. Attacking from the back is, without a doubt, one of the best positions you can be in. With the exception of the bow and arrow choke, these submission options work great for gi, nogi, and mixed martial arts competitions.
Practice these techniques consistently for a few months and slowly add them to your rolls. It is recommended to also study different entries to the back position to make your game more unpredictable.
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