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Get To The Back In A Hurry! with Nick Rodriguez

Get To The Back In A Hurry! with Nick Rodriguez


In 18 months, Nick Rodriguez has amassed a list of accomplishments that even the most avid competitors will never even get close to over a lifetime of training and competition. This young athlete has backed down from zero challenges and refuses to be intimidated by anyone, taking on some of the biggest names in BJJ and cementing himself as one of the most successful no gi competitors in the game. This new purple belt doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon as he continues to devour any challenge that’s put in front of him and it seems he’s booking new fights on a weekly basis.

His performances over the last year culminated at ADCC 2019 where Rodriguez was able to secure a silver medal. His matches were incredibly exciting and brought the enormous crowd to a roar on several occasions. Rodriguez made his way through his bracket with explosive energy and provided some of the most memorable moments of the entire competition with his exciting style and aggressive skillset. 

After ADCC it was clear that Nicky Rod was becoming a real contender in the no gi heavyweight circuit. With an impressive level of wrestling mixed with his jiu-jitsu that’s constantly improving, Rodriguez is on a quest to solidify himself as one of the best no gi grapplers on the planet. 

If you’ve seen Rodriguez in action, you know that his style is explosive. He’s incredibly agile and moves very quickly for someone his size, often employing cartwheel style passes and beautifully executed takedowns to get the job done. Rodriguez has a low single that’s served him quite well on several occasions. This quick attempt to secure an ankle which then results in the pursuit of a takedown is one of his signature techniques. In this video, we get a look at this unique takedown from Rodriguez, as he breaks it down for us. Take a look! 


This particular technique does not have all the elements of a traditional wrestling shot. This is a unique way to set up a takedown or a back take and the way Rodriguez chooses to execute it is just excellent. As he squats down to the mat on to one knee, he leaves his opposite leg out in the fashion of a kickstand. Rodriguez gets low here. So low that if he wanted to, he could just take a seat on the mat. He Extends one arm to begin palming the head and getting a gauge of his distance. This brief distraction allows Rodriguez to reach out with his other arm and secure a grip on the inside of his partners leg just above the ankle. 

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Rodriguez touts this next movement as the most pivotal point in the technique. As he secures the ankle, he makes a transition with his head from the inside of his partner’s leg to the outside. As he begins to turn the corner, he utilizes what’s almost reminiscent of a sit out to cut the angle. He’s also putting heavy pressure in to the back of his partners leg throughout the movement. As he turns the corner and arrives behind his partner, he reaches up for the far hip and begins to rise up to his feet. From here, his partner’s back is now compromised and Rodriguez can continue to move forward with a back take. 

This is incredibly simple in theory and with several repetitions this quick movement could be committed to memory to add a phenomenal option to your standup toolbox. The ability to expose the back may be the, or at least one of the top ways to get the best of your opponent in a grappling match. Simply put, the back is king. No other position offers the level of danger and control that the back position does. Rodriguez has turned this takedown/back exposure theme into a serious threat for his opponents, and though they may see it coming, it just doesn’t matter. 

It’s no secret that Rodriguez wants take you down and get to your back. We watch him do it over and over again in competition. But how is he able to do this, when everyone knows it coming? Deliberate practice. With some closing advice, Rodriguez advises us to find the things we are best at and drill them incessantly. This may seem obvious, but there’s no doubt that as grapplers we gravitate toward certain themes and there are constants that always show up in our games. Rodriguez’s advice is to give these things plenty of attention and instead of being good at them, choose to be great at them. 

I mentioned the cartwheel pass earlier. This is another one of Nicky Rods favorite paths to the back. Again, with his size, you wouldn’t think this would be a go to for the heavyweight, but this is another technique he’s managed to pull off at the highest levels, and show us all that this acrobatic movement isn’t just for the smaller competitors. Let’s take a look!


With his partner seated, Rodriguez begins his approach, using his left leg as a lead and stepping up the middle. He looks to control his partners wrist with his left hand on the same side as well. As he plants his lead foot and secures the wrist, he begins to lean in. Using a proximity reference of placing his head right next to his partner’s head, he begins to propel himself forward. Using his back leg as a means to generate force, Rodriguez posts on his partner’s back and performs a cartwheel right over the top, landing squarely in position to attack the back. 

At the completion of the movement Rodriguez will be looking to immediately attack the neck and secure the finish, but in the worst-case scenario he’ll pursue the hooks and secure a good back control. 

This is just plain fun. Cartwheel style passing pays off big time if you execute the movements correctly and you observe a sense of timing and urgency. Avoiding the struggle of the guard pass with straight acrobatics and having success saves a great deal of energy, and let’s be honest, its looks awesome too. 

Takedowns to Back Control by Nick Rodriguez

Its been exciting to watch Nicky Rod in his competition endeavors so far, and we’re quite excited about where things are headed. This young phenom is welcoming all challenges and giving it his all in every performance. His new instructional Takedowns to Back Control is available now, and it’s packed full of exciting and effective techniques that we’re positive you’ll enjoy!



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