Back Mount

Jiu Jitsu black belts in traditional Gis demonstrating Back Mount position

This position is sometimes referred to as “taking the back”.  The biggest benefit of this position is that it effectively neutralizes any size or strength advantage the opponent once had. When a smaller person is rolling against a bigger opponent, this position becomes the Holy Grail. From Back Mount, you can easily transition to a large number of submissions including chokes and armbars.

What do you do when in Back Mount?

Attacks and Details for Back Mount (for person in blue)

  1. Don’t cross your ankles! When you take somebody’s back, you’ll have the instinct to lock your feet together like in a closed Guard.  Instead, hook each foot onto the same-side hip or leg of the opponent. If the ankles are crossed, the defender has access to a very easy variation of the Straight Ankle submission. More advanced practitioners can avoid this submission, but for the white belt, this can be a sharp (and embarrassing!) lesson to learn.
  2. Get a grip! If you can’t control the defender’s upper body, you will lose this position. One of the most secure grips is shown in the image above–the over/under-grip. This grip involves placing one of your arms on top of their shoulder and the other arm underneath their other armpit.  You can grab your own hands or grab the opponent’s lapels to start working towards a large number of chokes. This grip will help prevent the defender from being able to roll in either direction and helps keep them from shifting their position too high or low relative to your own.
  3. Put your back into it! Don’t get lazy just because you got their back. You need to keep them stretched out and uncomfortable so that they will not be able to mount a good defense. One great option is to push down on their hips with your legs and pull up on their upper body using your grips. Stiffen and arch your back and they will become too stretched out, making it easier to work on the submissions.

Defending and Escaping Back Mount (for person in white)

  1. Get to work! You are in a lot of danger here so don’t get lazy. It will take a tremendous, full-bodied effort to escape this position. Don’t sit around waiting for the attacker to make a mistake. Instead, do everything you can to keep them from progressing in the position. Never stop moving and working.
  2. Address the grips! Don’t let the attacker get a grip on your lapel or get their arm under your chin where they can threaten the choke. Keep your chin down and at least one hand up near your neckline to ward off any attempts at gripping your lapel. When you get the opportunity, try to grab the arm that is on top of your shoulder with both hands and lift it up and over your head. Now, both attacker’s arms will be on one side of your body and you can more easily turn your body to face the opponent.
  3. Keep your feet active. You’ll need to work to remove the attacker’s hooks from your hips and legs. Don’t just sit flat on the mat with limp legs. Keep them working the entire time you’re in back mount to defend or remove the attacker’s hooks.

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