Back attacks: As most of you know, I put a VERY heavy emphasis on back in my coaching of jiu jitsu. In my opinion, the back represents the safest place to be both in grappling and fighting and offers the most high percentage and effective submission attacks, thus do I favor it above even the mounted position and all other pin positions. When I look at modern jiu jitsu I see many talented athletes who are extremely good at GETTING TO and MAINTAINING the back position. But many people struggle to FINISH from the back, particularly without the gi. Part of the reason is the lack of incentive to train finishes. In truth, there is little incentive to train on back finishes for a simple reason. If you have taken your opponent’s back then you have scored four points – the maximum in the sport. In most cases you have probably also scored takedown, passing and other pin points as well – so in most cases you will be far ahead on points by the time you get to the back position and thus very likely to win anyway, so there is no need to finish. That all changed with the rise of submission grappling events, where getting someone’s back meant nothing – YOU HAD TO FINISH FROM THE BACK. Many elite athletes really struggled with this, as the evidence of EBI overtime’s will attest. My approach to the back puts equal emphasis upon GETTING TO, MAINTAINING and FINISHING from back position, rather than focusing mostly upon the first two and assuming the third is just a bonus because the match will be won on points anyway. When it comes to finishing skills, I strongly emphasize two crucial themes. The first is an in-depth hand fighting system arranged in a hierarchy designed to pin an opponent’s defensive arms. The second is auxiliary subsystems designed to allow you to ATTACK THE WHOLE BODY rather than restrict yourself to mostly the neck. These two themes are often exhibited by my students in competition and have led to many of their greatest successes. Here, Gordon Ryan, a young master of back attacks, shows his hand fighting as he prepares the way for a strangulation in training.

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