Controlling The Back

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One of the best back attack players out there. Mr. Marcelo Garcia.

This month at 10th Planet Van Nuys both the fundamentals and advanced class are working on control the back. In fundamentals we are working on understanding the different control points and making sure that we know how to control the back properly. In advanced class Coach Alder is working with everyone on different drills that are helping us maintain control of the back.

Since I teach the fundamentals class I wanted to share with you a quick check list that you can use to make sure you have “perfect back control”.  I put perfect in quotes because this positioning is ideal. Now does this mean that you always have to have it? No of course not! Positioning like this gives you dominant control over your opponent which is something that Coach Alder preachers over at 10th Planet Van Nuys. To help you visualize this better I have split up the check list into lower body, upper body, and head positioning control.

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Ryan Hall looking to get his second hook in

Lower Body Control

  1. Knees Pinched – Having a super tight back control starts by getting your hooks in and pinching your knees together and squeezing your opponent’s rib cage to death.
  2. Heels to Butt – After getting a good knee squeeze you want to drag your heels to your butt. This brings your opponent even closer to you.
  3. Knees Pinched – Did I mention pinching the knees? This month in both 10th Planet Van Nuys classes we are working on different drills that strengthen the knee pinch. While I can’t share all of our ninja secrets I can share one. Coach Alder has been stressing to everyone that you want to create two vertical pillars with your knees. If your knees are pinched properly they should not be pointing outward.
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Standing back control from Ryan Hall

Upper Body Control

  1. Over Under – There are numerous different ways to secure the upper body. The method that we teach at 10th Planet Van Nuys is over under control. What I mean by this is that one arm drapes over the body while the other goes below the armpit. Hand positioning here is key as well. You always want to have your under grab your over. That way if your opponent attempts to peel your hands off, you can quickly transition to a rear naked choke.
  2. Stab the heart – Having an over under is great, but if it’s loose it sucks! One way you can tighten up your back control is to stab your partners heart.
  3. Elbows Down and In – After securing the over under and stabbing the heart, this last step makes things even tighter. During this step you want to bring your elbows down and in towards your body. While this seems like a small detail, it has helped me immensely with controlling the back because it creates a vice like control on your opponent’s back.
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This has nothing to do with head control. It just looks awesome!

Head Positioning

Head positioning is the aspect of back  control that I see getting left out a lot. Even though it’s the last thing we are talking about, it is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a good back mount. Using your head as an extra control point gives you control of your opponent’s head. When rolling keep in mind that “He who controls the head controls the rest of the body.”

  1. Chin over the clavicle – After securing proper control of the lower and upper body the next thing you should look for is placing your chin over the clavicle. Placing your chin over the clavicle eliminates extra space as well as starts to give you control of your opponent’s head.
  2. Cheek to Cheek – For some reason this is the one step that I see a lot of people skip in our gym. Placing your head cheek to cheek again eliminates space and really traps your opponent’s head into place.
  3. Head Forward – The last step of getting a good head position is making sure that you are constantly pushing your head forward. Think of this head pressure like you do the squeeze on your rear naked choke. You wouldn’t just grab the RNC and not squeeze right? By constantly pushing your head forward you are ensuring that your head control stays tight.

If you have any questions or have any suggestions make sure to leave a comment below!

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