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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

16 October 2019

16/10/2019 - Teaching | Back | Switch to mount & head balance retake

Teaching #908
Artemis BJJ (Easton Road), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 14/10/2019

To maintain hooks, you want to make sure you're driving your heels in firmly into their legs. If you're lazy with those hooks, then your training partner will be able to simply swivel round into your guard. If you instead engage your hooks by digging the heels in, when they try to turn you will move with them.

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In the context of retaking the back, the time to use the Andre Galvao technical mount back take is is before they get their shoulders to the mat. They've managed to clear one of your hooks and started bringing their hips over. Before they can get their shoulders to the mat, press your chest into their shoulder and roll them onto their side, in the direction they were escaping. You'll probably need to balance on your shoulder and head to get into the right position.

As they have cleared one of your legs, you should be able to then slide that knee behind their head (you might need to post on an arm, but see if you can do it without releasing your seatbelt grip). Sit back and roll them over your knee, then re-establish your second hook (note that in sparring, this will almost certainly be blocked). You can keep doing that from side to side as a drill.

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To go from technical mount to the back, the motion is the same, but you are in a more stable starting position. Simply drop back from technical mount, rolling them over the knee you have near your head. The foot you had by their hip becomes your first hook, so you just need to bring the second hook over. That can be easier said than done, which is why we'll be discussing some methods on getting that second hook into play as part of a future lesson.

When they are blocking your second hook, cross your free foot over your hooking foot. At first that might seem counter-intuitive, because crossing your feet on the back normally puts you at risk of a foot lock. However, if you only have one hook and cross your feet, they can't properly apply pressure against your ankle. Making sure you are aligned with the bottom of their spin, you can then thrust your hips forwards into them and pull back with your seat belt grip.

The result should be that your partner is bent around and stretched out, so that they can no longer connect their knee and elbow to block your foot. That's your chance to quickly insert your second hook, before they can recover their defensive position. When doing the hip extension, don't forget to keep control of their lower leg with your first hook. Otherwise they can just pop over and escape.

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The most intuitive option when you lose your hooks is to switch to mount. This option is mainly for when you are starting to lose the back and they manage to get their shoulders to the mat. At this point, you don't really have the back position any more, but there is an easy switch to mount. For that to remain viable, you need to drift your far heel over to their far hip, locking that in place. Use that as an anchor to pull yourself over into mount. You may also need to pull your elbow free, as that can potentially get stuck under their head (depending on your positioning before you started to lose the back).

Sometimes, your partner may try bridging their weight back onto you to pin you to the mats. To deal with bridging, if you want to return them to an upright seated position, a risky but potentially useful option is to kick them back out with your legs. Flick your shins around to behind their knees and kick them forwards. The main issue here is if they're able to anticipate what you're doing, as they can then time their escape to pop over both your hooks.

If you lose both hooks, as long as you maintain your seat belt you're still in control. Staying low, walking your feet around, until you are belly down, your legs pointing out directly opposite to their legs so that your bodies are in line. Walk your knees towards them, which should push them into an upright sitting position. From there, bring your hook over, or you could step on their thigh if necessary. You can then retake the back.

If they manage to dislodge your first attempt, you can just keep doing that walk around. However, you need to have the seatbelt: this demonstrates why having that seatbelt grip is more important than having the hooks. It is much harder to re-establish your seat belt if they dislodge your arms.

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Teaching Notes: On the rolling them back over, you don't just balance on your head and shoulder. Your weight is also pressed into their back, you're using them as base. That's worth emphasising next time. I combined this with the switch to mount, the most straightforward. Having those two together might be enough, as one is when they have their back to the ground, the other is when you've managed to keep yourself tight to them.

Could also be worth emphasising tightness of hooks? Or some other thing, I don't want to overburden the lesson. Something that fits, so I guess still talking about tightness, stopping them from turning? Practice this before next time, think about what can go wrong that connects with them turning their back towards the ground.

Also, text above puts everything together, whereas I've been teaching bits of that in separate lessons. Maybe the option to try for next time is when they get back to the mat, Galvao retake and the walk around behind if you completely lose hooks? That might make sense. Possibly worth throwing in single hook and hip thrust as that can apply to Galvao retake, maybe instead of walk behind? Still needs further thought on what's the best combo. :)

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