Timelines are often marked by innovators in the field. For instance, prior to Marcello Garcia you didn't see people take the back all that often. Now it is common place. When a reporter asked Marcello how he was taking the back all the time and no one else was, he replied "the back is half your body. I don't see how people don't take the back more often". His response was essentially - I look for it, I try to do it, and I believe I can.

Just like Marcello you can train yourself to look for the back, see the window to take it, and start looking for it in training. Before we study the techniques, lets look at a classic Marcello back take.


That was Mr Garcia's patented arm drag to the back. Nothing fancy or complex, just three basic techniques strung together very well: arm drag, back take, RNC (rear naked choke).

In Fundamentals class this week we have been studying how to get the back from side control. With regards to what Marcello said, it is a good starting point for us in that the back is completely hidden at the outset. In order to take the back you need to first see the opening. The movement drill we used to start looking is the back step recovery of side control when the bottom person pummels to escape. The question keeps coming up, "what if they don't pummel hard to escape"? Answer: flatten them out and go to mount.


The movement can be confusing at first, but the more you work with it the better you'll get. Once you have the back step down it is time to move on the back take.


The next back take we cover from side control occurs when your partner rolls away from you. In classic Jiu Jitsu practice it is considered taboo to give up your back. This makes a lot of sense and is a good idea, however at some point practitioners realized two things: 1) because people never do it, the offense is often lacking and 2) if you get points in a tournament for passing my guard, but I can roll to my knees - you don't get points, (except if you take my back - see reason #1). Hence, we practice taking the back from day one any time it is exposed. 


Positional training in Jiu Jitsu is important (eg. back, mount, guard). Good Jiu Jitsu though is able to flow well from position to position. This is why we will often train the transitions to and from the position and not just the position itself. Movement is the common theme tying these moves together. Drill the movements, (not just the moves) for a few minutes before or after class and you will soon find yourself moving much better than you thought possible.