Being stuck in back control is easily one of the most frustrating things that can happen to us when rolling or competing. Being in back control is an entirely defensive position while the attacker is in an entirely offensive position. The main trouble here is trying to escape while simultaneously defending against multiple different submission attacks.
If we want to escape back control, of any bad position really, we have examine the positional nature of the situation we are in. In back control, we are in front of our opponent while facing the same direction, which is a huge issue since we can’t really see our opponent.
Learn the hidden armbar! Click Learn More!
Usually the attacker will also have a seat belt grip and hooks which they can use to manipulate both our upper body and lower body, respectively. When defending against back control, we need to consider both of these elements of back control to be successful.
One of the most important yet least discussed elements of good back control is head position. In order to be effective on the back, the attacker has to keep their head next to the defender’s head rather than behind them. This is another important thing to consider when escaping good back control.
In the following video, black belt Stephen Whittier illustrates a great and effective way for escaping back control. See below:
In this video, Stephen mentions the importance of using all the different elements of back control to escape. He prevents the seat belt grip, which if you can prevent, will aid you tremendously. Stephen also limits the use of the hooks by pulling his legs in and stepping his feet on the mat.
Stephen also mentions the importance of head position fighting. What you want to try to do when escaping back control is fight to keep your head directly in front of the attackers. As you proceed through the escape, you should be looking to move your head under the attacker’s head as well.
From my experience, the most important thing when it comes to escaping back control is patience. The primary goal of someone defending against back control is not getting tapped, which is difficult enough on its own. If you spend an entire roll or match defending from back control but don’t get choked, you’ve succeeded in a very important way.
For more arm attacks, check out Diego Gamonal’s Hidden Armbar series from BJJ Fanatics! Surprise your friends and frustrate your opponents. Get it here!