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Taking the back is one of the main goals in Jiu Jitsu. As anyone who rolls knows, you must be clever and technical to take the back, and sometimes, you have to bait your opponent into giving you their back. One of my favorite ways is, the Rolling Back Take. The transition comes from the top of the quarter guard, and is a pretty slick move your opponent will not see coming.
Getting To Quarter Guard
Passing half guard is an art within itself, and there are hours of video instruction breaking down all the variables that can go into the complex position. I will demonstrate two ways in which we can reach quarter guard.
First way comes from a knee cut pass. From a split squat position, your inside knee will be up, and your outside leg will be posted at a 45-degree angle. In order to perform the pass, it is crucial to get your elbow on the inside of your opponent’s knee shield.
This shield is preventing the pass, and getting your elbow on the inside position will give you the space you need in order to attempt the pass. Place your hand on their hip, and with your other hand lift up on their bottom leg. Use your inside knee lift up as well. This lifts the whole “unit” so to speak, and will give you the angle you need to put your elbow between their knee and your own.
Drive your head to their opposite shoulder, and dive that same arm in for that same side under-hook, and now slide your knee through by turning your hips away from your opponent. When your opponent clasps their legs together to prevent you from passing, your foot will be stuck, and now you are in quarter guard.
Now, lift your hips, and drive your knee to the other side of their body, carrying their legs with your knee, facing their legs away from you. The position should look similar to mount, except your foot is caught in their quarter guard.
The second way is a bit simpler, and comes from when you are already in a traditional half guard. If you already have your opponent flat on their back, you need to have a strong cross-face in place. With your arm under their head, reach deep to their far armpit, and use that grip to pull them into you.
This will create tremendous pressure on your opponent. Drop to your outside hip and walk your foot up to your opponent’s buttocks. Walk it up thinking, “heel, toe, heel, toe.” Once it reaches your opponent, you will find it easy to simply place your hand on your opponent’s knee and push it off your own.
Now with your knee through, drive your knee forward, and you should end in the same position as the one mentioned previously. A quarter guard with their knees facing away from you.
Taking The Back
Now comes the fun part, the back take. We could jump right into the roll, but it is much easier, and more effective to first get your opponent to face away from you. The best way to do this is to threaten submissions. I like a chain of collar chokes and key locks. From the collar choke, the instinct is to protect their neck with their hands, using this reaction attack the key lock on the far arm.
Grab the wrist, and slide your other hand under their arm for the kimura grip. They will most likely turn in order to defend the submission with their other arm. As they do, lift up slightly allowing their arm to come over, and allowing them to turn away from you. Once they are turned, drop your body, and put pressure back on your opponent.
With them turned away, and with the submission attempts, they will focus on defending. With your outside foot and take a back step over your opponent’s legs. You will turn away from your opponent, and take your arm closest to them and shoot it by the ground, in the direction toward your legs. This will drive your shoulder to the mat. Roll over your shoulder
Both, you and your opponent’s legs should be in the air. It is crucial not to lose this position. Think of it as a 50/50. From here, your opponent, if they are quick enough, have a similar opportunity to take your back. Also, if they open their legs, you may be in danger of losing not only the back take, but the dominant position as well.
To avoid this, you can use your arms to grab your opponent’s legs. With your foot, that is not between their legs, you will “gas-peddle” your trapped foot by placing the free foot on top of the trapped one, and push it down.
This will drive your opponent’s body down, flipping them, and exposing their back. You will notice that the previously trapped foot has now become one of your hooks. Now apply your seatbelt, and your second hook.
Collar Choke From The Back
For the finish, there are many options we have from the back. One option I like, and that is easily accessible from the seatbelt hand position is the collar choke from the back.
With the hand that is under the arm, open up your opponent’s lapel. Reach your choking hand over to the opposite side, and grip high up on the collar of your opponent’s lapel. The other hand stays underneath the arm and grips the opposite collar, lower than the first grip you made.
To finish the choke, extend your arms, and pull the top grip across the neck. This extension closes the gap. The grip under the neck is the choking hand, but the grip on the other collar works to tighten it.
There are plenty of times we find ourselves in the quarter guard, and for various reasons. It is important to remember that this gives us an excellent opportunity to take the back. This rolling back take can be slick, and sneaky when done correctly. It needs to be timed well, should catch your opponent off guard. Enjoy this move, take the back, and get the tap!