Octopus Guard (Taking the Back)


1. The position begins in the closed guard.  My opponent is between my legs.  I begin by flaring his right elbow out with my left hand, setting up a basic wristlock.

2.My opponent defends the wristlock, so I duck my right hand underneath his tricep…

3. And follow through by sitting up over his back.  Eduardo Telles calls this position the “Octopus Guard.”  It is an apt name:  you are draping all four limbs over your opponent’s back.  At the very least, it’s easy to remember, so we’re going to call it that for this technique.  ;)

4.Since my opponent is wearing the gi, and he is not significantly shorter than me, I will grab his belt to weigh down on his back.  I bait him to step over my right leg by opening my guard.

5.From this point on, my intention is to take my opponent’s back.  Of course, I have the option for the calf-slicer (if it’s legal in my division).

6.As I come up to take his back, my opponent is no schlep:  he understands immediately what my intention is.  He sits to his back to avoid giving up the most dominant position in all of jiu jitsu.

7.I am waiting for this opportunity.  I roll over my right shoulder (a “ninja roll”), securing what Eddie Bravo calls the “lockdown” with my feet….

8.Which enables me to push my partner away with my hips.

9. I don’t want him to be able to turn all the way to his knees;  otherwise, we’ll end up in the same position we started in, so my left hand reaches under his left arm, preventing him from rolling further.

10.My second (left) hook comes over his hip, taking his back.

11.Note that from this position, I am all set for the “single wing” choke, kata-ha jime in Japanese, or “single wing choke” in American.

12.I finish the choke by leaning slightly to my left, with either a sadistic smile or gas-passing giggling.

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