One of the most dominant positions you can have in Jiu Jitsu is having control of someone’s back, otherwise known as back mount.
There is a reason why this position rakes in the high point values in points based tournaments, typically tied with front mount. From the back you have the ability to focus almost completely on attacking without much concern for the opponent attacking you which is obviously great. That’s where you want to be. This only become problematic when you are the one playing defense and the opponent has control of your back. Not to worry, as we learn, there’s a solution to every situation in Jiu Jitsu, or almost every situation anyway.
First we are going to take a look as how Stephen Whittier looks to escape the back when the opponent is controlling him properly and not giving up anything that may be considered a “cheap shot” such as an ankle lock if his opponent were to cross his feet, or something similar.
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Ideally, we want to start defending before the opponent is able to get the seatbelt grip. In order to do this, we need to be aware of our head position, hand position and our hips. To start off we want to have good posture, and make an X on each side of our face. Next we want to bring our feet closer to our hips simply planting the feet with the knees bent. If we are able to get to this position prior to the opponent getting a seatbelt grip we are a step ahead because we still have the ability to make space by leaning side to side, forwards and backwards. If you are able to you simply put your back on the floor as soon as you are able to. Once you get your back to the floor the opponent is likely going to try to come to mount so that they can maintain a dominant position. As they come up, we simply execute our guard replacement drill, first shoving their now top leg between our legs forcing them into our half guard, and if you so choose, continuing to shrimp out to make room to bring your other leg out and around your opponent to lock the guard.
The other advantage to making an X with our hands next to our face is when the opponent starts to dig in to try to get the seatbelt grip we can got to a two on one grip lifting their arm over our head and down to the other side which will result in ending with us now laying on their rib cage rather than our bodies being aligned. See the image below for a visual representation.
From here we can also work what Whittier refers to as “our standard escapes” meaning stepping over the opponent’s bottom leg and circling out of their back control. The big takeaway here is at all times you are either controlling your partner’s hands or arms, or protecting your neck, we aren’t getting grips on the Gi just to have grips, everything is done with purpose.
This is only one example of one position that you may be in and need to get out of. If you are looking for more detail on this position, or the other various escapes we all know, love and could always use some pro tips on, check out his video instructional titled “The Pillars Escapes” for another perspective and detailed escape plans for each position. At the end of the day the match always comes down to who had more options, who solved the problem faster and or better. As the saying goes “Knowledge is power” and BJJ Fanatics has all of the knowledge from the best athletes and instructors in the world.
The Pillars Escapes provides essential escaping tips for every level. If you are a beginner or smaller than your opponents being able to escape from the worst positions will be a staple of your game after watching this instructional from Stephen Whittier. Don’t be held down and stalled on anymore!