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The Worst Position In BJJ


The number one successful submission in the UFC is the rear naked choke. In IBJJF rules at the black belt level it is very likely the bow and arrow collar choke.

What do these two submissions have in common? They both are finished on the back.

The rear mount is the worst position to be in a fight. More specifically the face down rear mount where your opponent has you flattened out and you are carrying their weight. A close second would be the “belly to the sky” mount, where you are looking up at the ceiling (and possibly the referee reviving you after a short mat nap!)

Why is the rear mount so dominant?

Jiu-jitsu guru John Danaher explains that the human body is not designed well to defend against attacks from behind. You can not see what your opponent is doing and all of their weapons are pointed towards you.

If you have ever been caught in the rear mount in an opponent’s body triangle or tight seat belt grip, you know how difficult it is to escape!

So what do you do about the worst position in jiu-jitsu?

Here are 3 tips.

1) Don’t get there!

This is partly a facetious response, but within the remark lies a kernel of wisdom. It is much easier to avoid the bad position in the first place than to try to fight out of a bad position.

The most common positional errors we see preceding a back take are:

A) Incorrect escape in mount or straight up giving the back by turning face down when mounted.
B) Forgetting the underhook when passing guard or allowing your arm to cross the guard player’s center line, exposing the back.

It is better to fight from another position than to give the back.

2) Protect your neck!

When your opponent has sunk the hooks and is controlling your movement it can be tempting to reach down and try to remove one of the hooks. But if your hands are trying to grip their feet, what is protecting your neck? Nothing.

Your number one priority when mounted is to protect your neck against the choke. That is your metaphorical life!

3) Go to the weak side.

As far as the seat belt grip goes, there is a strong side and a weak side (for the attacker) with the strong side being the arm over the shoulder.

The highest percentage escape that I see is on the weak side. Try to get to that side ASAP and perform the escape in this video:




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