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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

23 February 2012

23/02/2012 - Teaching (Escaping the Back)

Teaching #043
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 23/02/2012

In the back position, they are frequently going to begin by trying to attack your neck. Protecting your neck is therefore a priority. In order to choke you, they need to block off both sides of your neck. That will normally use either your gi (e.g., sliding choke), their gi (e.g., ezequiel choke), your arms (e.g., arm triangle) or their arms (e.g., rear naked choke). Therefore you have to be aware of all four of them: note their grips, if they're trying to pull their gi across, if they're attempting to thread an arm through yours, and most obviously, if they are attempting to drive their arm under your chin.

As with any escape, you need to stay tight. Keep your elbows in, using your hands to cover your neck. There are numerous schools of thought on just how to do that: clamping your hands to both sides of your neck (which I learned as the 'Shirley Temple' defence), crossing your hands over your neck, grabbing both your collars, and Saulo's method of just grabbing one collar, keeping the other hand free to block.

Saulo's back escape starts by putting a thumb inside your opposite collar, using your other hand to block their hands. You then do what Saulo calls a 'big scoop', shifting your upper body down and your hips forwards. Next, kick out one of your legs to clear their hook (you may also need to nudge it with your elbow), then drop your other elbow down past their other leg and turn. You need to be careful here that they can't re-establish their second hook: block it with your elbow and knee if they try.

If you're a bit late and they've already got an arm across your neck, fall towards the open side, as if you were reclining on a couch (if you fall the other way, you're helping them get the choke. You also want to turn your head towards their elbow to relieve pressure. Both Saulo and his brother Xande suggest that when you fall to the side, you want to be lying on their knee (Saulo suggests just below the knee), as that will stop them shifting to mount or re-establishing their back control. From there, Xande adds the detail of turning your hips to clear their hook.

Step your leg over, using that as a base to shrimp out. Grab their other trouser leg, to prevent them from moving through to mount as you try to escape. Keep shrimping in order to clear their leg, aiming to either re-establish guard, or continue to shift your hips back into their armpit until you can switch to side control. Make sure that you are still being careful of your neck, as that is always a danger from back mount. Saulo mentions that you could use your free arm to stop them sneaking their other arm around, though generally when escaping the back, he emphasises that it is your hands that do the defensive work rather than your arms.

We had a visitor tonight, which was cool. Tatami-sponsored athlete Vikki Todd is going to be in the area for about two months, which is great news. Should prove to be an excellent training partner for GB Bristol's resident tough female blue belt, Kirsty. :)

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