As we continue learning about taking the back, I feel it would be a disservice to not address some opportunities for taking the back that are not the usual do this then this then that to take the back. What I mean is, these are very simple ways to take the back that arise in transitory situations—the grey area between position A and B. Though the entry to the back in these situations is not complicated, the chance to capitalize is fleeting, which is why it’s important to learn them and drill them. A lot.
The window is small, so your reaction time must be quick.
In the first technique, we set a hook as our opponent turns away from us to escape side control. The act of bellying down into a turtle position exposes the hip to a hook for a fleeting moment. To sneak the hook in, all you have to do is execute a quick sit-out-like motion. The challenge is that if you try too soon, your opponent’s back will block you. If you try too late, your opponent’s knee will block you. You have to attack right when the hip starts coming off of the mat.
For the next technique, we look at transitioning from mount to technical mount when our opponent shrimps. Again, this is not a complicated movement, but timing is essential. You have to have the awareness and the reaction time to float your hips at precisely the right moment, allowing you to drop into technical mount. You can stack the deck a bit with the cross face, as you will see, but perfecting your finesse is still essential.
This final back take is more of a conceptual example than the previous two. Anytime our opponent is attacking a single leg, you can potential take the back, provided that you force your opponent’s head out of position. This particular example explores countering a seated single leg, but in any scenario where your opponent is committed to a single leg like position, you can potentially take the back by beating the head.
When you practice this particular variation, pay close attention to the movement of my hips. Notice how I sink them low as I start my rotation. If you keep your hips high and try to secure the back, your opponent will be in a good position to flush out the bottom.
Next week, we explore finishing from the back, which won’t be our final class in the module. We’ll continue to dive down the rabbit hole of arm drags and back takes, but we’re choosing to explore submissions now because I plan to force my students to drill finishing extensively as we continue to look at new ways to take the back.
Can you tell that I like drilling?
Artechoke in a Can is the online version of Marshal D. Carper’s weekly no-gi class. Marshal is a purple belt under Sonny Achille at Steel City Martial Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he is the author of The Cauliflower Chronicles and Marcelo Garcia’s Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Techniques.