The Phenomenal Back Control of Marcelo Garcia
Do not let the smile and the friendly demeanor fool you…
If one were to do a poll throughout the jiu jitsu community about whom the all time pound for pound king of competition jiu jitsu is, chances are Marcelo Garcia would be in the rankings. The humble, intelligent Alliance black belt has become one of the most revered grapplers of all time. What makes Marcelo’s game so powerful? How was he able to be so dominant for so long on the competition scene?
For starters, Marcelo has a dynamic game that combines perfect timing, unusual movements and fantastic control. They say that once Marcelo gets to the back, it is only a matter of time before he chokes you. Why is this? Why is he so powerful when he gets there? It is a matter of timing, technique and a deadly repertoire of techniques.
If one looks at Marcelo’s competition record, and the opponents that Marcelo has beaten it becomes clear that the proof is in fact in the pudding. He has beaten a who’s who list in the sport of jiu jitsu including submission wins over Leo Vieira, Kron Gracie, Pablo Popovitch, Andre Galvao, Cyborg Abreu and Xande Ribeiro to name a few. Many of these wins came in the form of attacks from the back.
What it comes down to is that Marcelo Garcia is unshakable once he gets on your back. He has a set of techniques that he can work in gi or no gi and is able to stay there once he is there. Ricco Rodriguez had an idea of how to get Marcelo off of his back: he slammed him, but that is not legal in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Ricco Rodriguez wound up getting heel hooked in that match…
Marcelo Garcia’s dominance is largely rooted in his ability to hold onto people once he gets into position. He is able to latch on using his whole body to cling to his opponent while he sets up his submission strings. It is both savage and brilliant. Even high level opponents succumb to Marcelo.
Probably the most effective part of Marcelo’s game from the back is his choice of grip sets and his ability to use all four of his limbs to grip. It is like he has hands where his feet should be. Marcelo Garcia is able to grip his opponents no matter where he winds up on them and then is able to climb to the back.
Once he arrives to his destination (the back of his unlucky opponents) he establishes the position, and starts to further improve his grips. This can be as simple as securing the rear naked choke, or setting up complex collar chokes in his gi matches. Watch what seems to inevitably happen when Marcelo Garcia finds his way onto an opponent’s back, very few have been able to escape once he gets there and acquires sure footing.
Once he has established his positional dominance on an opponent’s back, Marcelo begins to hunt for the choke. He seems ambidextrous in this matter, and relentlessly and tirelessly uses both arms to search for a choke. He has a propensity for the rear naked choke, but has been known to hit collar chokes on opponents who face him in the gi.
Against high level opponents, securing the choke is rarely enough. Once Marcelo Garcia secures a choke on an opponent, he cinches it up, making it increasingly difficult for the opponent to breath and for blood to get to their brain. His back control is augmented by his ability to choke from the back. An ability he was able to apply throughout his active competition grappling career.
So if you want to be a threat to opponents when you get on their backs, be like Marcelo Garcia. Learn powerful, surefire ways to get to the back, and once you are there learn to secure the position, control your opponents and have an arsenal of chokes. There is a reason Marcelo Garcia has been considered one of the greatest jiu jitsu competitors of all time and that reason is his ability to secure and control the back ultimately finishing so many of his opponents from there.
You can see his exact techniques he learns to finish from the back with the The Bow & Arrow Choke 2 DVD Set right here. Check out: