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BJJ INSIDERS CLUB/ETHAN CRELINSTEN–MODERN FUNDAMENTALS OF THE BACK
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BJJ INSIDERS CLUB/ETHAN CRELINSTEN–MODERN FUNDAMENTALS OF THE BACK

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INTRO


Ethan Crelinsten is a two-time ADCC Trials winner, ADCC Vet and EBI-winning member of the B Team based in Austin, Texas.  He is widely considered one of the best Canadian grapplers on the submission grappling circuit.  Long known for his submission prowess from the back, or rear mount position, Ethan and his teammates are working to challenge what we know of as BJJ fundamentals through their combat-tested modern techniques.




WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM BETTER BACK CONTROL?


The Rear Mount, where one grappler is attached to their opponent like a backpack, is arguably the most powerful position in jiu jitsu. This is due to the amount of control over the opponent’s movement and body, and the number of submission opportunities that can manifest there.


In this edition of Insiders Club, Ethan shows how much of what we typically understand as FUNDAMENTAL back control is actually somewhat flawed.  By focusing on the details offered in this Private Lesson, one’s ability to control and manipulate the opponent will be increased, thereby making the submission attempts more likely because the opponent’s escape opportunities will be nullified

30K FOOT CONCEPTS


In this Private Lesson, there are a number of high-level conceptual ideas that Ethan explores to show that we must constantly be refining what we understand as “Fundamental”.


  • BACK CONTROL ISN’T THAT CONTROLLING
  • If you ask most BJJ students to explain what constitutes good back control, they’re probably going to tell you that it’s important to have your chest connected to the opponent’s back, to secure a seatbelt style grip on their upper body with one arm forming an underhook and the opposing arm draping over their shoulder, and finally, to have the legs wrapped around them with feet in between their legs with heels pulled back to secure their hips.


    For Ethan, this traditional position doesn’t put the person attempting to control the back in the best possible position to prevent an easy escape or to finish any submissions.  It’s actually the best possible position for the opponent to begin their escape campaign.


    In the Private Lesson, he explains how to change the angle and begin a rotational process around the opponent’s body which allows you to deepen or lengthen your leg and arm length in relation to the opponent’s body, which greatly increases the level of control and the threat of submission.



  •  THE UNDERHOOK SIDE ISN’T THE BAD SIDE
  • One of the first “rules” that has historically been taught with regards to back control is that it is best to take the opponent down to the mat towards the side of the body where the overhook is, because it is assumed that this puts the opponent in more danger with regards to the rear naked strangle submission.

    Ethan shows that taking the opponent to the underhook side is actually far more controlling and places one in a much better position to then set up the RNC.


  •  THE HOOKS AREN’T JUST HOOKS
  • One of the fundamental understandings most BJJ players know is that it isn’t really back control unless the feet are in between the opponents legs, keeping tabs on their hips.

    For Ethan, that’s just the beginning.  One of the most important skills in his Modern approach to Back Control is how to use the hooks to not only secure, but to also be able to manipulate both his and his opponent’s body.


    THE SWITCHAROO

     


    The “Switcharoo” is Ethan Crelinsten’s modern take on the standard Rear Naked Strangle set up.  The technique, as explained by Ethan is highly detailed and should be drilled in whole or in segments as much as humanly possible to improve muscle and mental memory of the techniques.  For Ethan, there is no real secret to getting better at a particular position other than time in said position.  The more time invested in a particular position, the better one will become.


    The Switcharoo and it’s success is also predicated on Ethan’s Modern Back Control Principles, namely using a rotational strategy to cut the angle on the opponent which will deepen the hook and arm on the underhook side, and maximize the ability of the legs and hooks to not only control, but to also move and manipulate the opponent’s body.




    STEP ONE:  USE FEET TO PUSH OPPONENT AWAY


    Assuming that Ethan has accomplished the proper modern version of back control, falling to the underhook side and securing a seatbelt, the opponent will most likely be defending the strangle by attempting to control the overhook arm with both hands.


    Ethan will use a foot on foot placement for his hooks that allows him to drive his feet into the top side of the opponent’s hip, which turns them up to the ceiling and creates just enough space for him to peel his underhook hand away and grab the opponent’s bottom arm.


    STEP TWO:  PROPER HANDFIGHTING TO SET UP STRANGLE THREAT


    Once Ethan has regripped the opponent’s bottom hand at the pinky and extended it out of the way, he will use the overhook arm to threaten a strangle attempt, which the opponent must take seriously.  This distraction allows Ethan to once again employ his foot to foot positioning to push the opponent away, allowing him to extract his bottom arm and then drop the opponent into the newly placed bottom arm strangle position.


    STEP THREE:  PERFECTING THE STRANGLE ARM


    When securing the bottom strangle arm, it is important in this Modern approach outlined by Ethan, to make sure that you are draping your shoulder and armpit over their shoulder and reaching so that your pinky finger touches the back of their neck.  Add a tight head positioning to further protect the hand and you’re nearly at the finish line for the strangle.


    STEP FOUR:  FREEING THE TOP ARM


    At this point in the process, the opponent should be holding onto that top arm with all of their might to desperately prevent the strangle.  At this point, Ethan will use his top knee against the back of the opponent’s scapula to push them away slightly, allowing him to pull his arm back and over the shoulder to pry it away from their grip, as it puts their gripping hands in a precarious position and is difficult to fight through.


    STEP FIVE:  THE STRANGLE


    Once Ethan has freed the top arm, he will now set out to position his knuckles on the back side of the opponent’s head while each of his hands reaches for the opposing arm’s bicep.  To create the necessary space to manipulate the arms, Ethan stresses that you should maintain a hollow body.


    Once the proper hand position is secured, it should just require a minor rotation pulling the bottom arm elbow back to secure the submission.



    CONCLUSION


    In this installment of the Insiders Club, Ethan Crelinsten shares a number of details to make both your overall back control stronger and improve your RNC finish rate.  Spend some quality time before and after class drilling this with a partner and watch your back control dramatically improve.

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