How To Become A Back-Taking Expert In BJJ

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran, you can certainly benefit from studying the most effective and efficient ways to take the back of your opponent.

Back mount is a truly legendary position in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. From the position, you can easily attack the neck of your opponent while also using it as a pathway to other dominant positions. But the real benefit of the back is that once you are there, you are relatively safe. Your opponent is neutralized, and you are in a position to control and submit them.

Securing the position awards you four points in IBJJF tournaments. But again, it is also a position where you can look for ways to finish the contest with a variety of submissions.

Because the back mount is regarded as one of the best positions to be in, it is important to understand the different routes to get there.

Today, Evolve Vacation brings you “How To Become A Back-Taking Expert In BJJ”.

Garry Tonon’s back take from top turtle position

Before detailing the technique behind this back take from top turtle position, BJJ World Champion Garry Tonon from the EVOLVE Fight Team shares some valuable insight into why taking the back is such a valuable strategy in BJJ.

Tonon explains that not all submissions are available against every opponent. In fact, a stronger opponent might be able to defend your armbar submission if his strength outweighs your technique. For this reason, trying to armbar a bigger and stronger opponent might result in him flexing his arm backward and retracting it from a dangerous position.

That’s why chokes are more ‘available’ than other submission types. That said, though, any choke that requires an arm in is also one that has to overcome some level of strength.

All hail the rear naked choke.

Let’s get started with this excellent back take from a standard position in BJJ.

It all begins with a change of direction during your roll. When your opponent is turtled, rather than attempting to control his lower hips and prevent him from inverting, the objective with this technique is to encourage him to forward roll. That’s a noticeable change-up from attempting to bring him to either side.

So, with the head-and-arm position secured, it’s now time to start preparing him for the roll. By pressuring the back of his head with your shoulder, you can begin to prompt his body to roll forward naturally. The pressure is key. With enough force, you are essentially making him want to move where you want him to. The next step is to then walk your body in a circle to the side of his head. Maintain the pressure on the head. Eventually, you’ll be in a position to barrel roll and slide him right into a spot for you to take the back.

Slide your hooks in and reach straight for his shoulder, sliding your forearm right underneath in a choking position.

Master this sequence, and you’re on your way to becoming a freakishly skilled back-taker.


Back-taking after the double-under pass

The key to becoming an ‘expert’ back-taker, though, is to have an extensive pool of techniques and back-takes to choose from.

This back take, as explained by Nick Albin, is another that you should be looking to master. The clear benefit of this sequence is that it includes a guard pass, as well. This technique all begins with using a modified double-under pass against your opponent’s full guard.

This modified version of the double-under pass begins with control of your opponent’s two legs. With the simple of act lifting one leg upward while pulling backward with the other, you can shoot your far-side leg through in between your opponent’s body and your leg. This is already a pivotal difference to that of a usual double-under pass, that would usually involve you driving from your toes. By cupping the hip and pressing your body forward, you can now begin to encourage your opponent to take the turtle position.

Usually, the double-under pass results in your opponent landing in a turtle position. In most cases, that alone is a great pass and a terrific outcome because you have moved from being inside a guard to a relatively advantageous position.

From here, you can attempt the back-take mentioned earlier (as Garry Tonon explained), or quickly jump at another opportunity to take the back, as well.

More often than not your opponent will leave a small gap underneath his thigh that allows you to slide your foot through underneath and dig a hook in immediately. Sit up and wrap a tight grip around the waist of your opponent, hold, and then transition your grip to the upper body. With one hook already in, your work is half done. It’s now just about finishing the technique. Shoot your hand and arm through and underneath his chin to begin threatening the rear-naked choke immediately


Marcus Almeida demonstrates taking the back from closed guard

In the video above, Marcus Almeida demonstrates a useful back-take that begins with your closed guard.

The sequence starts with breaking the grip of your opponent. Grip breaking is an article in itself, but a simple technique is to use both of your hands on the one arm of your opponent and push to the opposite side of his thumb. If you break his grip, don’t relax, immediately circle your arm up and over to the other side of your body to avoid him re-attaching to your gi collar. While rotating your arm, bring your legs inward to your body to break his posture down.

Now, reach up and over his body to attach to his far armpit. With this grip, lock your elbow and retract. This will stabilize the position. The critical step here is to avoid your opponent trying to posture up again, so make sure to keep your bodies close. Now, open your guard and immediately open your hips to escape to your elbow. This will allow you to dig one hook as you begin to post up on your straight arm. You can then come out temporarily by lifting your hip to attach your second hook on the far leg and take the back.

Make sure to review the demonstration above by Marcus Almeida if you want to understand and complete this technique.


With these three slick back-takes in your toolkit, you’re going to quickly become proficient at getting to one of the most dominant positions in all of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


More in BJJ

Also On Evolve

Targeting The Body In MMA

Targeting The Body In MMA

Long a point of derision for MMA coaches and analysts out there, mixed martial artists just do not pay enough attention to bodywork. In an age where the spectacular is sought after by headhunters and…