No Seatbelt No Problem… – BJJ Fanatics

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Back Takes from The Turtle with Lachlan Giles

Achieving a solid back take from the turtle position can be an arduous task. Cracking that shell and securing everything we need to transition to a clean back mount position can be very difficult if your trading techniques with a proficient BJJ player. This task can be made even more difficult if you’re not able to connect your hands and create a harness around your partner, more commonly known as the seat belt grip. 

I was always taught never to let anyone connect their hands as they pursue your back. The job of escaping becomes exponentially more difficult once this happens. In the turtle, getting your hands inside of your opponent’s defenses and connecting them can seem almost impossible. Spending too much time forcing the hands in or trying to penetrate the space, can put you behind in match, and your opponent may transition to something even more unfavorable. 

So, can we still pull of a solid back take if we can’t secure a seat belt? 

Of course, we can. In fact, Lachlan Giles has some suggestions for you on this exact subject. Here, he offers us several options to hunt down the back mount without the use of a seatbelt grip from turtle. Take a look!

Setting up in the turtle position, Giles acquires a very distinct set of grips. One on his partner’s far trap and one at the hip. As we all would prefer, Giles would like to penetrate the space between his partner’s elbow and knee with his own knee, and also look to step in between his partners feet with his left leg. But sometimes this is just not available. So, with nothing but his grips he will adjust to his partner’s reactions and work to the back. Each reaction commands a different reaction from Giles and he will demonstrate how to adapt to each situation. 

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Option 1 – Partner rolls away

For this first variation, Giles partner begins to roll away from him, siting to his hip. With his grips secure, Giles rides his partner through the motion, keeping his chest tight to his partners back. As he rolls, Giles hooks his partners top leg, establishing his first hook for the back control. Giles then transitions this hook to the back of his partner’s knee, and uses it to pull his partner across tot eh other side. Giles warns us to be careful here not to position this hook at the hip, as this will not provide the necessary leverage to pull the body across to the other side. AS he pulls with his hook, he slides his opposite knee forward a bit and completes the rotation, landing on the opposite side with the back mount secured. 

Option 2 – Partner performs a shoulder roll

In the second variation, Giles partner begins to perform more of a forward shoulder roll. Again, with the same set of grips, Giles relies heavily on the hip area grip to keep himself close to his partner. As his partner beings the roll Giles shadows him by performing a roll of his own, placing his head on the opposite side of his body and looking down towards the feet. As they both work through the roll, Giles uses his grip on the hip to pull his partner directly in tot eh back control. 

Option 3 – Rolling back take

With the third option, Giles is a bit less connected to his partners back, putting him behind when his partner begins to sit to his left hip. For this application, Giles will perform a rolling style back take. With the same set of grips secure, Giles’ partner begins to sit to his hip, as this occurs Giles rolls over the top, again looking toward his partners feet. As he performs the roll, he catches his partner’s leg with his hook and pushes, creating more momentum through the roll and cementing the back take. 

I’m a huge fan of the rolling back take and Giles makes a very important point about it here. I’m definitely guilty of this, and I can see where things go wrong. When the rolling back take is done without consideration for the upper body, its pretty simple for the bottom player to put their back on the floor toward the end of the exchange. This makes it quite difficult to connect your chest to the back and complete the technique. 

With Giles’ grip on the trap, he’s able to keep a very strong connection to his partner through the roll, which likely leads to a much higher success rate of taking the back.

Option 4 – There’s no room for a hook

The final option finds Giles with a partner that’s not allowing him to establish a hook during any of the previous techniques. As Giles’ partner begins to roll, Giles again uses the same grip set to follow him, but this time Giles can’t find the hook. Here, he brings his knee up to his shoulder and begins to sit his partner up. From this seated position, Giles can acquire the seatbelt and pursue the back however he chooses.  

What I love most about this sequence is that Giles uses the exact same set of grips for every technique. Employing this grip set affords Giles the ability to keep a strong connection to his partner as each attempt at escape is made. In a no gi scenario, good grips can be hard to come by, especially when things get slippery. But these seem to be great anchoring points and having one upper and one lower allows Giles to adjust to various attempts of escape. 

Drilling these techniques in sequence could really add quite a bit of value to your back-take repertoire. There are lots of answers here to some incredibly common reactions. I hope you enjoyed this segment as much as I did, and made some realizations about your back-take game. Good luck!

This is your opportunity to learn how to manipulate anyone from the half guard and use their weight against them to pass, with Lachlan Giles! The Guard Passing Anthology: Half Guard has you covered on all things half guard! 

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