Nothing beats the back: When it comes to control and submit a tough and opponent- nothing will beat getting behind him and strangling him. The back is the single safest place to be in a on one fight without weapons – whether it be grappling, MMA or a real fight. Nowhere else is there such a massive imbalance between your ability to attack them and their ability to attack you. Of course other positions have their own great value, especially when striking is permitted, but the back will always be my favorite due to the imbalance in attacking potential between the two athletes and the incredible power and success rate of the weapon used from the back – the rear naked strangle (mata Leao/hadaka jime). No other weapon in the jiu jitsu submission arsenal offers such variation in severity of application as the back/ combination. It can go from a mild hold-down/immobilization to a safe means of rendering an uncontrollable opponent safely unconscious; to a truly brutal elbows-to-the-back- of-the- head beatdown to a lethal strangle in a life or death struggle. No other submission offers this mix of versatility allied with and success rate. As such, the back and the mata leao strangle are the most symbolic representation of jiu jitsu. If I could only pick submission hold for the rest of my life – unquestionably I would choose this one and I believe the overwhelming majority of other jiu jitsu players of all levels and all sizes and levels would do the same. Understanding the many nuances of the back – both the positional element and the submission element is a huge part of my coaching program. Nothing shows me more clearly the speed of a student’s progress than A PROPENSITY TO RUTHLESSLY HUNT FOR THE BACK AT ALL TIMES IN A MATCH, THE PHYSICAL SKILLS TO GET THERE AND STAY THERE, ALONG WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND INTENSITY TO BREAK THROUGH DEFENSES AND FINISH IN THE MOST DECISIVE AND CONTROLLING WAY POSSIBLE FROM THERE. Here, Gordon Ryan, who has truly devastating control to submission sequences from the back, locks in a characteristically tight stranglehold from behind.

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