BJJ Tips and Concepts: Developing a Killer Back Mount

9 Jul

In the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the back mount is by far one of the most dominant and advantageous positions in the entire sport.

Everybody who trains BJJ knows that the back mount position wins fights. In my opinion, I would rather be on someone’s back than in any other position, just based on the fact that it is so dominant.

It is super important to have a strong back mount. Sure, getting on someone’s back is cool and all, but how long can you stay there? Is your control any good? How good are your submissions from the back mount?

These are some serious questions you should be asking yourself if you are really looking to improve your back mount.

Lucky for me, back mount is a position I have spent a lot of time working on, even since the early days of my BJJ training. My instructor always emphasized that back mount was the king of all positions, and he made sure that we all put time into developing our back mount attacks and control (and still does to this day).

Many of today’s best BJJ competitors use the back mount as their “check mate” position, and look to end their fights from there. Guys like the Mendes brothers, Cobrinha, and Marcelo Garcia have revolutionized the entire back mount game. It’s on a whole new level now.

Check out some of the back takes and back mount attacks in these videos featuring Rafa Mendes and Cobrinha. Rafa and his brother have made the “berimbolo” a super effective and cool looking technique , while Cobrinha continues to amaze us with some of the most crafty and agile back attacks from so many different positions.

Being a back mount guy, I’d like to think that I know a little bit on the topic of back mount, so here are some good tips and concepts to help improve your overall back mount game.

There are things that you should constantly be consciously thinking about and working on during your training.

Back Mount Control

Alignment

Having good control from the back mount is arguably the most important skill to have as a BJJ fighter who is looking to improve this position. A huge concept to understand is alignment.

The alignment between your chest and your opponents spine is crucial in staying in the position and being able to keep control.

The more your opponents spine becomes out of alignment with the middle of your chest, the more potential your opponent has to escape and the less control you have.

The more your chest falls in alignment with the middle of your opponents spine, the less potential your opponent has to escape and the more control you have.

An example of good alignment

It’s a very simple, yet extremely effective concept to have in mind. Try to consciously think about how your alignment is while on somebody’s back during training, and try your best to keep proper alignment.

Fighting with the hooks

Another way to keep control is by constantly attacking with your hooks. Mind you that this is done at the same time you are setting up your perfect alignment between you and your opponent.

The hooks should always be attacking. If possible, dig your hooks into your opponents side abdomen as you push your hips forward to stretch your opponent out.

Marcelo Garcia using the hooks to attack

This can make it very difficult for your opponent to defend against chokes and other hook variations. It is also can cause discomfort and help break your opponents will to defend and keep fighting.

Defending with the hooks is also possible as well. If your opponent is trying to escape by turning into you, certain methods like placing your top hook behind their top knee will help you readjust and keep the position (see photo above)

Drilling your setups

Your back mount can become very dangerous when you are able to get there from many different positions. If you look at the Cobrinha video above, he takes his opponents backs from all angles and has no problem transitioning until he gets there.

You can take someone’s back from top side control, bottom side control, top and bottom half guard, deep half guard, open guard, mount, x guard, de la riva guard, reverse de la riva guard, inverted de la riva guard….Need I really say more?

Pick a few setups that you like, each from a different position, and drill the heck out of them for a couple of months. Pick ones that you think will work well for you, and strictly focus on them. Soon you will notice them becoming very sharp and crisp.

I can remember drilling only arm drags and de la riva back take setups for a few months consistently. I saw a huge improvement in my back mount game because I was always threatening my training partners with these two setups.

If you are able to achieve a good understanding of the concepts of alignment, focus on constantly attacking from the position with hooks and submissions, and develop effective setups for taking the back, then your back mount game will see enormous improvement.

Just watch the pros and how they incorporate these concepts in their jiu jitsu games.

-N

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