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BJJ Instructional Videos
John Danaher Leglocks
John Danaher Back Attacks BJJ
Half Guard BJJ Instructional Video
How To Take The Back In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

How To Take The Back In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu


When you think about some of the most advantageous positions to find yourself in while grappling, having your opponent’s back is at the top of the list...

It is one of the safest positions to find yourself in. If you were in an MMA / street fight scenario, having your attackers back would keep you safe from punches while allowing you to attack neck chokes. In an IBJJF ruleset, taking the back awards you 4 points in a tournament. No matter whether you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran, it is always going to be important to be finding new ways to take the back from different guards as well as a variety of other positions. Some of the greatest grapplers all have effective back takes. There are so many ways you can do it, from a variety of different positions. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can take your opponent’s back in BJJ.

Attacking The Back is not as easy as you think. In fact, John Danaher thinks the modern BJJ methods of attacking the back are flawed. His System of Attacking The Back has created some of the best submission hunters and finishers in the world.


Back Take vs Turtle

One of the reasons some high level BJJ practitioners see the turtle position as a weak defensive position is because it gives your back to your opponent. A smart attacker will often look to use this to their advantage. You can hit a back take on a turtled opponent in only three simple steps. Place your hips directly next to your partner’s hips. You should be square against your partner. Now from here, simply reach with your near arm around his waist and grab your training partner’s gi lapel. Pull your training partner towards you using your knee to block his knee and establish your seat belt grips. From here you can begin to work your submissions.

Gabriel Arges How To Take The Back From X Guard

Gabriel starts this technique by explaining some concepts around switching your guard at the right time. He uses De La Riva as an example. If your opponent stands in your De La Riva guard and starts to pass by pushing your leg down then it is probably the right time to switch to X guard. It is important to switch your hips and turn away when you have lost the De La Riva. This allows you at different angle to position yourself in. Gabriel shows that you also want to switch to a collar grip, hooking your opponent at the ankle with your free hand. Notice that this position Gabriel is in is much like half guard knee shield. Now you can get your knee across, giving you the ability to control the distance. After this you can cross your legs with your knees open. Usually your opponent will try to counter this by standing. To counter this, weaken their base by extending your legs. Trap the near leg, and take your opponent’s foot off the ground. Switch it to the other side of your head and keep it connected. To finish the back take, Gabriel moves under his training partner, allowing him to sit behind him. From here he can pressure down and easily take the back. Now when his opponent stands, Gabriel pulls down at the belt while kicking with his feet hooks. Once Gabriel has the back he is clear to start working neck choke submissions.

De La Riva to Back Take with Knee Pressure by Roberto Jimenez

From a standing position, Roberto first looks to control his opponent’s legs by grabbing below the knees. He traps his training partner’s inside leg, kneeling so that his opponent’s knee is right below his chin. Roberto also has grips on both sides of his opponent’s gi collar, right below the neck. This keeps his opponent’s back flat on the mat for now. Typically what will happen is your training partner will push into you and try to re-establish their guard. Roberto uses this momentum to trap his opponent. The first thing he does is drop his hips and pass the knee. He keeps his hand on his opponent’s back and then pressures forward, dropping his chest in and his knee right on the side of his opponent’s leg. Robert then switches his grips to set up his choke. He starts to worry about the choke before he even starts to take the back. With the choke set, Roberto slides his left knee up and stretches his arms to create leverage. From here he sits down and tries to get his foot over the hips. He goes to the side while hooking his opponent’s shoulder with his foot. His heel hook goes to the ribs to trap the outside arm. To finish the choke, Roberto pulls his opponent in with his arms and legs.

Kickstart Back Take by Mike Palladino

The kick start back take starts from side control against his opponent who is in the turtle position. The key detail here is to use your heel of your foot the rip up your opponent’s leg so you can take his back and sink your hooks in. Mike also demonstrates how to take the back using a roll through. Here his knee is right in between his opponent’s knees. He is hip to hip and then goes to his harness, picks the leg and rolls all the way through. In that transition is where you want to look for the setup for a submission.

Side to Knee on Belly to Back Take

Gordan Ryan starts from your typical side control with a head and arm clinch using a gable grip to lock tight to his training partner. From there you see him lift his opponent getting him up on his side rather than flat on his back. Then Ryan gets a tight grip on his training partner’s lower back. You might want to pause the video right and notice how tight and connected Gordan Ryan is to his opponent. He has tight control behind the neck, and back with his left leg and foot tight at the hips. He is basically taking all opportunities away from the guy on bottom to attack. That free arm is useless. And that he is on his side he has no power to bridge. Gordan maintains his tight connectivity in the transition. He drags his knee straight across his opponent’s belly and now dominates his back side, still giving no opportunity for an attack or an explosive movement to bump him off. The head clinch that he still has as well as his knee on the mat give him the leverage to lift his opponent up get his hip and leg around, lock up and take the back, already in position for a perfect neck choke position.

Back Take From Double Sleeve Grip by Roberto Jimenez

From bottom closed guard, Roberto looks to get a double sleeve grip. You can use your legs, your hips, and your grips to push your partner from side to side. When Roberto is ready, he pulls his opponent forward with his grips, using his hips to off balance his opponent’s base. While pulling his training partner into his guard he extends the arms so he can secure double under hooks and secure his grip around his opponent’s back. From here Roberto switches his grip and escapes his hips to the side. He continues to work around the back until he can secure a collar grip. He feeds the collar grip to his left hand. If he can’t pull his opponent over then he climbs all the way up to his back as he gets to his knees. With his hooks set, Roberto pulls his opponent into him and swings his hips in. He gets on top and then turns to the other side, finishing with a seat belt grip.

Yuri Simoes Butterfly Cradle To Back Take

Yuri is well known for incorporating his wrestling back round into the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But the crazy thing about Yuri is that he has never wrestled. He simply sees wrestling as an effective way to pass, and therefore uses popular wrestling and catch wrestling passes. This is a really unique back take. Starting from butterfly guard what Yuri likes to do in this position is pull his training partner’s head down and threaten the guillotine choke. Yuri uses his arm and body weight to move away from his training partner. This breaks down his training partner’s posture, putting him on his side and making his butterfly guard completely ineffective. From here get your arm under your opponent’s head to trap his arm, giving you access to take his back. A lot of the time, simply closing the seat belt grip will not work. By going all the way around your opponent’s neck and arm you secure a rear naked choke on his elbow. From here you can set your hooks and take your opponent’s back.

If you are struggle against a bigger, stronger, more aggressive opponent, just remember there is always a way you can find a way to his back. By learning how to flow from one position to the next you set yourself up for easy back takes. If you are looking for more interesting ways to get to your opponent’s back then check out “Back Takes For Everyone” from Gabriel Arges, available exclusively on

The Danaher Death Squad Athletes are some of the best back attackers in the world. There is a system that they follow from John that gives them the blueprint to become the highest rated finishers in EBI History.

By focusing on the same principles that created one of the most feared submission systems ever, John feels he has perfected and revolutionized the way his athletes can attack from the back. His athletes move from attack to attack, constantly creating more and more advantages for themselves, until they are getting the tap.

John Danaher Shates the Secrets of Back Attacks With One Of the Greatest Jiu Jitsu Minds of our generation with his 8+ hour DVD / On Demand Series: Back Attacks Enter The System



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