Sunday, August 15, 2010

John Will Seminar 15 Aug 2010 - Back Control

John Will Seminar 15 Aug 2010 - Back Control

The essence of maintaining back control is not the hooks. Rather, it is keeping your chest on the other guy’s back. You have to be prepared to move with him rather than try to clamp him in place, per John’s fly fishing analogy.

Seat belt grip 

(on his left arm) - keep your R hand (the one you will use to choke) on his chest directly under his neck. Do not let the hand move out to his L where he has more chance of grabbing it and it has to move further to attack his neck. Grab the R wrist with your L hand - Your L hand protects against his attempts to grab your R hand and run interference on the choke.

Master side

The best place to keep him is on the “master side”, the side your choking hand is on, or with the underhook side up. If you underhooked his L arm, you want him on his (and your) R side. That way if you try to choke him and he tries to escape to that side, he ends up tightening the choke. If he is on the other side, he will end up undoing the choke and has a better chance to escape.

If he is on the wrong side, Take off your hook on that side and move your hips back under him until he is on the master side. If you have the L underhook and he is on your  L, take your L hook out and use it to shimmy your hips under him until he is on your R. This is less effort than trying to roll the guy over you, which may not work at all if he is heavy. Take both hooks out if necessary.

You can also change master sides by switching grips. However this is more difficult and you run the risk of not being able to reclaim the seat belt.


To keep him on the master side, “staple” him there by (assuming you have the L underhook and he is on your R side, the master side):
Pushing the R side of his head to the floor with the R side of your head
Pushing his R knee to the floor using your own R hook, and possibly your L foot as well
Thus preventing him from turning toward you and/or moving to the other side.


If you just bring your choking hand up in an arc, it leaves air between your wrist and his neck and it is too easy for him to grab your wrist and use it as a chinup bar to stop the choke.

Instead, slide your hand quickly from its ready position on his chest around the neckline and “snake-bite” the back of his neck with your hand (let’s say it’s your R hand). He will still try to grab your wrist, but it will take considerably longer. Use your L palm to run interference on his grab attempts, pushing his hands away, until you are ready to snap the choke on. It would be best to preemptively put your L hand in fending position as you snake-bite his neck with your R.

Transition if you lose back control

He is on your master side (say, your R side, you have the L underhook), but is getting his shoulders to the floor and is about to escape. Switch your L hook to the outside of his L knee to prevent him turning toward you. Release the seat belt grip and slide your L hand back so your wrist is in his armpit, as you come up on your R elbow. Switch base and come up to side control angled toward his head. Turn your wrist sideways and put your weight on his L elbow to complete the “up and crush”. From here you can move to top kimura, snap armbar or kata gatame (or forearm choke).

How to get the back

From Head to Head

You are sprawled on top of him. Slide the back of your L hand onto the L side of his head; run around to side/back control on his left, getting the seat belt with his R arm underhooked. From here, focus your weight on his L shoulder sprawling hard on it to collapse his arm so he rolls to his L falling on his L shoulder. Get your R hook in and then your L. Finish with him on your L, master side.

If you get side/back control with the seat belt and he rolls to his R, taking you with him, get your L hook in. Keep the grip fairly loose so you can get on your R elbow and then to your knees. Bring the R knee up as far as you can trying to touch your R elbow. Now Roll him back the other way, over your knee. Keep the knee up and hip flexor engaged as this will cause the knee to help carry him over. Now insert the R hook and consolidate position on the master side.

If he rolls you from side back control and balls up so you cannot get the first hook in,get behind him on your R side, come to your knees and hoist him up to a sitting position (helps to post with your r foot and push with your leg to get him up, then drop back to your knees. Straighten up on your knees and pull him up as tall as possible. Now put your L (master side) hook in, then the other. Use the “boat ramp” principle by sliding back after you insert the first hook to give enough room to get the second hook in.

From side control

Get side control on his R side, L elbow on the far side of his head, R hand at his hip. “Add Pulling” to increase pressure by getting your L hand under his L arm, R hand underneath his torso and pulling up. Suddenly move back away from him him using your L hand on his L arm to pull him up on his R side, then run around his head so you are now facing his back. Get your chest on his back and behind his L shoulder so he cannot turn back toward you.. Your L hand slides under his L arm so you can get the seat belt. Push into him to encourage him to roll back, then get your hooks in by one of the last two methods from side/back control.

From mount

Both hands on his R arm, push it to the floor as if for a figure 4 by lifting your weight off the floor and putting it on the arm. If he turns toward it to rescue it from the figure 4, shift to side mount, underhook his L arm with your L arm to get the seat belt, and get your chest behind his R shoulder. Take your R foot back so you can use it to push into him and stop him from turning back to his L. When ready, bring your R knee up behind his back and roll him into back control, inserting your hooks.

If he doesn’t turn to his side to stop the figure 4 ... then hit him with the figure 4.

From hooks in guard

You are in his guard, he grabs your pants cuffs with both hands. Cup both hands behind his R elbow and arm drag him to your R. Reach around his back and under his L armpit to get the seat belt. Lift your butt off the floor to put weight on his R shoulder, and roll him back to your L and get your hooks in. You can also use your L hook to push at his R knee to corrode his base if he is very stable.

From half guard bottom

His R leg is in your half guard. He puts his L elbow on the far side of your head, puts his L hip on the floor to begin the basic half guard pass. Grab his pants at the L knee with your R hand. He will now bring his R foot up to his butt and push you legs down over his knee to move to mount. As he moves to mount and his weight shifts to his L knee, use the grip on his L knee to put his L leg into your half guard. Underhook his R arm with yours and get the seat belt, You are on the master side with one hook in already.

From inside his closed guard

Open his legs and then get double underhooks on both legs. grab his belt at floor level with both hands, elbows on the floor. Head in his stomach, and jump to both feet. Quickly stand up and lift him, flipping him backwards over his head so he lands on his knees. Quickly move to his R side, get side back control with the L underhook and seat belt. You already have options from here.

Using your weight

1. Hover. Try to get every part of your body except the one(s) you are using to apply pressure off the floor.
2. Focus your weight on a small area.
3. Focus that weight strategically so as to get what you want, e.g. at the end of the lever to make the guy move in the direction you want, or stop him going in the direction you don't want.
4. Add pulling.
5. Apply pressure at the right angle.