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Back Control, Take the Back and Keep the Back

Back Control, Take the Back and Keep the Back


Back control is an essential component to becoming a well-rounded bjj athlete. Back control is one of the most important things to develop. If you manage to take your opponent’s back, it is not a simple task so you can’t let them escape.  Back control is not simple to master!

In order to have good back control you want to stay tight to your opponent with a seat belt grip, keep your head tight to them, and threaten your opponent with submissions so they have to work.  Maintaining the back is one of the best things you can learn to do.

Back Control and the Seat Belt Grip

The seat belt grip may be the most important detail to controlling your opponent’s back. The seat belt grip is when one of your hands (preferably your choking hand) is over your opponents shoulder and the other is under, just like a seatbelt.  This grip is so powerful and allows you to control your opponent’s upper body and threaten attacks.

The seat belt grip was popularized by Marcelo Garcia. Marcelo has some of the best back control in bjj.  Marcelo believes if you work so hard to get the back you can’t give it up.  At the highest level of competition or against good guys, if you get the back and solidify the position you need to maintain it, the seat belt will allow you the control necessary to do just that.  Check out this article on the Bow & Arrow choke, it is one of the best gi chokes from the back. Also, check out this video breaking down principles of back control.

Back Control and Staying Tight

When you take the back, you have to stay extremely tight.  What does this mean?  You have to keep your head glued to your opponents and go ear to ear, you have to keep a tight seat belt grip, and you have to keep your knees tight around your opponent with active hooks.

Keeping back control is no easy task, but it is imperative to learn.  As long as you stay tight it will be much easier.  Your opponent has to lift their hip, and get their head and shoulders to the mat, as long as you can prevent this, you can maintain back control. Getting the back is no easy tasks so check out this back take below by World Champion, Lucas Leite.

Back Control and Threatening Submissions

Back control is extremely important, but you don’t just want to hold your opponent, you also want to have dangerous back control.  If you take your opponents back you have to capitalize on the opportunity and be able to finish. 

You have to have a complex system of attacks from the back and they can also play into your back control.  If your opponent is on the brink of escaping, you can threaten them with a submission.  All the top level competitors have unbelievable back control and if they get your back, there is no chance of escape; they also have a complex system of attacks! If you’re having problems escaping when someone has your back, check out this video below breaking down a good back escape.

If you want to enhance your back control and attacks, check out Matt Arroyo’s DVD “The Back Attack Blueprint.


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