3 Escapes From Back Control In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

An opponent having your back is one of the most dangerous positions in all of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and many people view it as the final moments before being submitted. Essentially, your opponent has nullified your ability to attack them while they have complete control over your upper and lower body.

If your opponent has taken your back, don’t panic; there are still plenty of opportunities to escape from this disadvantaged position.

While it is never advisable to be completely comfortable operating from this position, there are still a number of high-percentage escapes that you can initiate depending on how your opponent attempts to attack you.

Before we explain the techniques, it is important to remember to keep calm and don’t panic! By knowing and understanding these techniques, you will be able to work your way out of a troubling situation. Remember, each of these techniques require battling at each of these very tiny steps that are involved, so be patient!

Today, Evolve Vacation brings you Three Ways To Escape From Back Control.

Stack, walk, and turn

This is an escape from an opponent’s back control (back mount) with a ‘seatbelt’ grip (one overhook and one underhook).

Firstly, if an opponent has secured your upper body, you can begin stacking them and disallowing them from sitting up right behind you. If they were to sit behind you, they can attack you with ease. However, by driving your body up and over them, you can force them to carry your weight and make it all the more difficult for them to maintain the position.

The next part is crucial in all of these escapes. You want to beat your opponent’s head to the mat. If your opponent has their head on the mat and yours is resting above theirs on the same side that you are trying to escape, it makes it extremely difficult to release your shoulders and escape the position. You should always try to beat their head to the mat on the same side that they have established an underhook.

Begin turning to the side of the underhook and turn your hips in toward your opponent. Don’t let go of the arms at the moment, however. It’s important to defend against their hands and arms to avoid being choked for as long as possible.

Eventually, by walking out and turning your hips toward your opponent, you will begin to stack your body on top of their leg hook on the same side that you are escaping toward. This pressure then allows you to safely and efficiently remove your outside leg and remove the hook. If you can’t slide it out immediately, extend it upwards and over their leg. That’s step one.

From here, you want to control their arms and body by extending your arm and forming a ‘stiff-arm’. By using this stiff-arm and grabbing at the gi near the elbow and knee of your opponent, you can turn into them as you slide out. Make sure to maintain that solid frame with your arm as you attempt to escape, this will prevent them from following you and landing in full mount.


Breaking the leg hooks with your knees

This is a timing-based escape in the seconds before they secure upper body control.

You know what is better than relying on escapes from the back mount position? Escaping by marginally avoiding the position just moments before they solidify their spot.

There is always a small window of opportunity to escape from the dangers of the back mount in the seconds before they secure their ‘seatbelt’ grip with one overhook and one underhook. If you feel your opponent dig their leg hooks in and they have control of your legs, it’s time to clamp down with your elbows and prevent them from sliding underneath your arms to establish control of your upper body.

If you manage to do this, even temporarily, you have a small window to escape. To remove the leg hooks, turn your knees up and inward. This movement will slide your opponent’s feet and legs up and over your thighs. As soon as their legs pop up just a little, bring your hips forward and scoot your lower body away from your opponent. This movement should be enough to break their lower body grip.

Shake one leg hook and turn your body to the opposite side to escape. As soon as you turn your body over and escape the back position, reach out and grab their closest arm (likely touching the mat), while maintaining a grip on their pants (or cupping their knee in no-gi), while passing over their flattened out leg. After this, you should be able to move into side control if you maintained tight grips.


“Safe Haven”

This is an escape from an opponent’s back control (back mount) with a ‘seatbelt’ grip (one overhook and one underhook).

The “Safe Haven” escape, as it is known in 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, is a back escape that focuses on ‘popping’ your shoulder out of the upper body control before sliding out to the side that an attacker has established the underhook.

By sliding to the side of the underhook, the defender can safely avoid the dangers of the choking hand. Alternatively, if you choose to slide to the overhook side, the attacker can quickly slide their hand up to clamp on the shoulder, and you have effectively made the choking scenario much easier for the opponent.

This escape relies on shaking the leg hook on the underhook side before you begin. To do this, there are a number of methods but the most common is to extend your leg straight and upward before dropping it to the mat. This movement will cause a rebound effect on your opponent’s established hook and bounce it up in the air just enough to slide your leg past theirs and release it.

After shaking the hook, the next focus is to escape the position as soon as possible. Bring both of your hands up, inside, and over your opponent’s hands before beginning to push down on their hands. Think of this move as similar to “CPR”, the cardiopulmonary resuscitation procedure, in which you will push downward with extended arms to break their grip.

At the same time as initiating this technique to break the grip, focus on getting your shoulder free of the overhook grip and try to ‘pop’ it out through the gap.

Once you pop your shoulder through and have broken their grip, it becomes relatively easy to continue sliding out. Drop your body to the mat and keep sliding out and away from your opponent while extending your arms to prevent them from securing the mount position by following you.


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