Take The Back With Leo Viera

Take The Back With Leo Viera

In case you don’t know, Leo Viera is one of the most successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners and competitors to ever step on the mat. Not only is he extremely skilled beyond comprehension, he is also a very entertaining grappler to watch as he constantly moving and attacking from all directions. Leo and his brothers created the CheckMat team, which has dominated the scene for many years. Although this 5th degree black belt retired in 2013, there is still a lot we can learn from him.

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One technique Viera is most known for is his flashy back take from turtle, also known as the forward roll back take. Traditionally, taking the back from turtle requires off balancing one’s opponent from the side to establish control. Because this technique is difficult and requires and unwary opponent, there was a need to develop a new way to take the back, hence the forward roll. In the following video by us, you will see how this effective back take can be performed.


The reason this back take is effective is because most grapplers are not conscious of the potential forward roll. They are typically defending their sideways balance so strongly that the forward roll is ignored. It is important that the attacker has a very strong seat belt grip with good head placement because if they don’t, they will slip off and end up on the bottom. Although the technique appears to require strength, the technical application of force to the back of the defender’s head makes the technique rather easy.


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An alternate way of doing this that is easier and more effective is a version used by Garry Tonon. Starting in the same position with the seat belt grip, begin walking in a circular fashion towards the overhook side and apply a significant amount of pressure to the head of the defender using the overhook shoulder. The pressure against the head will make the roll easier and safer. Rotate to where you are almost parallel with the defender and then do a small forward roll bring your opponent with you.


It is important to place the hooks as you are rolling in either version so as to prevent the defender from blocking them later. Rather than trying these moves as the first back take attempt, use the standard ways first to get the wrong reactions from your opponent as this will make these techniques easier.

For more high level back takes, you will not want to miss Mikey Musumeci's Power Switch Guard Retention and Genius Back Takes.  Mikey is the most decorated American jiu jiteiro in history being the first American to win the World Championships twice.  Check out his series here!

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