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BJJ INSIDERS CLUB/EOGHAN O’FLANAGAN BACK TAKES FROM LEG ATTACKS
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BJJ INSIDERS CLUB/EOGHAN O’FLANAGAN BACK TAKES FROM LEG ATTACKS

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INTRO


Eoghan O’Flanagan is a UK-based BJJ black belt winner of the ADCC European Trials in 2021 and narrowly missed a Bronze medal at the ADCC 2022 World Championships in Las Vegas, finishing in 4th place.


Known for an innovative leg lock game, he has expanded his leg defense and thereby developed a system of leg attack counters that allow him to capitalize on the lower body submission attempts of his opponents.  Rather than simply defend their attacks, he turns the opponent’s offense against them and creates opportunities for his own back takes, which can set up submissions of his own.



WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM BACK TAKES FROM LEG ATTACKS


Grapplers who no longer ignore 50% of the human body and have jumped into the deep water of leg locks, and have built a sufficient foundation of defensive tactics and escapes around leg submission, will gain a great deal from Eoghan’s approach to defending the leg submission with more offense, namely the back take.


Leg locks can often be relegated by beginning grapplers as “too advanced” and a topic they will look to in time. However, it’s important in today’s BJJ milieu to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of leg submissions and defenses as early as white belt.  


The techniques demonstrated by Eoghan O’Flanagan can easily be used in both No Gi and Gi training, although it is widely understood that leg attacks can be different based on belt level and what is considered legal for each belt level.


INVERSION AND DRILLS TO HELP BUILD YOUR BOLO


The LEG LOCK COUNTER TO BACK TAKE technique that Eoghan O’Flanagan primarily shows in the Insiders Club will require one to perform a Berimbolo or “Bolo” for short.  The Berimbolo is a position, named by Andre Galvao, that involves a BJJ player inverting or pulling their own head under their hips while anchored to a seated opponent via a De La Riva hook.  This act of elevating the hips allows the player to use their legs, hips and grips to off-balance the player, securing either a sweep or perhaps a back take (as in Eoghan’s example).


The Berimbolo has been widely popularized by BJJ athletes like Mikey Musumeci, Paulo and Joao Miyao and the Mendes Brothers.  Though it has been popularized by lighter weight athletes, it’s a skill that any grappler can develop with some concerted effort.  Let’s look at a few drills that Eoghan recommends to prep your body and build your skills towards your first Bolo.


THE WALL DRILL


The Wall Drill begins with the grappler on their back with their feet on the wall with knees bent at approximately 90 degrees.  One of the key goals is to keep one’s feet connected to the wall as they complete the drill.  Beginning with the right foot, Eoghan will step towards the left foot, stepping above it as he bends his body, aiming his head at the wall.  


Then, by using both feet, he will pull his body through so that his hips elevate and his head is able to come out the other side.  This should be done slowly with minimal hand involvement and the majority of the effort coming from the feet and the connection to the wall.


One final point that should be made is, during the exercise the grappler should be able to lift their head off the mat.  If they are unable to do so, then they are most likely putting more stress and strain on their neck than necessary.  Work slowly and build this technique with controlled repetitions over time, making sure not to strain the neck or back.







THE ROLLBACK DRILL


Another great exercise or drill to help warm up and build flexibility in the back is the roll back.  The goal of the roll back is to bring one’s legs up and over their head and touch the toes to the mats.  Again, being able to lift one’s head off the mats is a great gauge that too much stress is not being placed on the neck and upper back.





THE ROLL THROUGH DRILL


The final drill to help build fluidity in the act of inversion is the Roll Through Drill.  The grappler will use a partner for this drill who is standing with their feet placed a little wider than shoulder width apart.


The one performing the drill will grip the nearest leg and roll between the legs, inverting and transitioning their legs in a manner that allows them to use one leg as a whip for momentum and the other as an anchor to keep them connected to the opponent.  




BACK TAKE FROM STRAIGHT ANKLE LOCK


The primary counter that Eoghan breaks down in this edition is a Back Take Counter from an attempted Straight Ankle Lock. The grappler finds themselves caught in an Ashi Garami or Single Leg X style leg entanglement with their opponent locking a straight ankle lock grip over their calf and shin.  Let’s break down the steps for taking the back to give better understanding.



STEP ONE:  Peel the opponent’s heel off the hip.  First and foremost, defending the straight ankle should be the first priority.  

STEP TWO:  Secure a De La Riva Hook.  The De La Riva hook will initially help to further defend the straight ankle attempts.  It will later serve as the anchor for one’s Bolo.

STEP THREE:  Grip the opponent’s ankle.  This prevents the opponent’s movement, while also strengthening the anchor to aid in the Berimbolo.

STEP FOUR:  Extend De La Riva Hook leg through to opponent’s far hip and control their knee to begin climbing over the knee to initiate the Bolo.

STEP FIVE:  Begin to invert, reaching for the far hip of the opponent.

STEP SIX:  Using the legs, one will drive forward continuing to load the opponent’s hips over your own.

STEP SEVEN:  Use the legs to continue pushing the opponent’s legs away will begin to expose the far shoulder to allow a grip on the trapezes/shoulder area that will set up the subsequent seatbelt grip.

STEP EIGHT:  Bridge into the opponent if necessary to open them up for the top hook to be placed over their hip.



CONCLUSION


Eoghan O’Flanagan offers a detailed breakdown of how to both defend the ankle lock and turn that initial defense on its head, no pun intended, with a Berimbolo style back attack.  Whether you consider yourself a knowledgeable leg locker or a newbie to the other 50% of the human body, this breakdown will serve as an excellent introduction to spicing up your defenses with a touch of offense.  Have fun and start with the skill development drills to make your Bolos that much better!

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