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Control the Back Like a Pro with John Danaher
The back-mount position can be one of the most difficult places to establish good control.
In my opinion the back is probably the best position to acquire, but it takes loads of skill to keep someone there. If you can master the controls of the back, you will reap big rewards, but this mastery begins in the fine details and you’ll need to work tirelessly to commit these keys of dominance to memory.
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When we think of the back, often a couple of key phrases come to mind. Like, the seatbelt grip or establishing hooks. If you’ve been training for any amount of time, you’ve more than likely heard these terms and have begun to experiment with them in your own training.
Establishing good back control does involve these particular items, but there are underlying themes that must be observed when you’re applying the seat belt and working with your hooks. A deeper understanding of how these tools are being used is absolutely necessary if you hope to dominate the backs of the best players in your academy.
Check out this video with John Danaher. Here he explains in a little bit more detail about how we should be employing the seatbelt grip and our hooks to get the most out of our back control. Here, Danaher discusses the concept of left and right control. Have a look!
Danaher begins with some preliminary ideas on upper body control. Particularly shutting down our opponent’s ability to move left and right, as this will result in the undoing of our control and allow our opponent to turn into us.
What seems to be critical here is the position of the elbows. Danaher places his over hook elbow tight to his partners shoulder, pinning it and keeping his partner from turning to the left. His opposite side under hook elbow is charged with the task of pinching his partners lat muscle.
So, as Danaher explains the control of the upper body is not accomplished by the locking of the hands. It made possible by the positioning of the elbows.
I’ve definitely been guilty of this. Often in our minds the goal is to connect our hands as quickly as possible to establish control. But this is not as critical as the proper use and positioning of our elbows. This is an incredibly important detail that deserves our attention. As Danaher states, a good understanding of this concept will allow us to work with open hands, which we will undoubtedly need to do at some point to begin attacking. Learn to control your partner’s upper body with your elbows.
Going further, Danaher presents us with the idea of diagonal control. There will be times when we are only able to secure controls on one side of the body. If this is the case, then there must be an opposing control on the opposite side that allows us to keep our partner from turning in either direction and eventually beginning to escape.
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If there is no upper body control present, Danaher advises that we must have 2 hooks in to be able to keep control of our opponent. Even better in this scenario would be a more constricting form of control such as a body triangle, but regardless of the method there must be total lower body control.
These ideas may seem simple, but how many times have you acquired the back and subsequently given it up due to poor control? This idea of left and right control needs to be in the forefront of our minds when we establish the back. So often we get greedy because the back is a very dominant position, and it is enticing to begin attacking straight away when we get there. But instead of thinking submission the moment we hop on to the back, instead think of this concept of keeping your partner from moving left and right. If you can master this idea of control, your upper body will become more readily available to use for attacks.
Keep these concepts in mind the next time you begin attacking the back. They will undoubtedly lead to better control, and eventually to more success when attempting to submit! Good luck!