Hands down the best FREE resource on how to control and how to finish from the back is Tom Halpin’s Back Attack Series on Youtube. This is some high quality stuff by the 2019 ADCC European Champion!
Some noticed the similiarities with the back attack Instructional by John Danaher as Tom’s Series covers many of the same concepts! But before anybody dares to accuse him of plagiarism – he uploaded his clips months before Danaher released his DVD!Some moves just work better than others and with enough research and effort ideas will naturally converge. Real inventions rarely exist in combat sports! In his series Tom goes over on how to control, finish and recover from the back. All this in serious depth and with many small details which lead to huge improvements in my own game!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGX7J8e98k8&list=PLlRq1uz6r9aY1vxMXDMDA2ClfViDZVqMj&index=2&t=0s
With the quality and depth of the content (50+ min) Tom could have easily made this a full fledged instructional DVD and charge you some serious cash for it. Instead he published a second, updated series. Again for FREE on Youtube!
I believe these two series should be the open source standard reference for controlling and finishing from the back!
For most people there is no need to pay hundreds of dollars for other instructionals focusing on finishes since Tom’s series is PLENTY to work with.
Here are the links to the full playlists:
The second primary resource is Ryan Hall’s Back Attacks DVD. It is an old set but it is definetly not outdated!
Ryan’s DVD focuses on understanding the underlying concepts and principles and not too much on individual techniques. Ryan is a great teacher (probably the best I came across so far) and the knowledge you gain by studying his DVDs will make you an all around better grappler. I frequently rewatch his DVDs and still learn new stuff to this day. They are the gold standard of instructionals.
Ryan goes in depth on all the fundamental prinicples, positions, submissions, entries and transitions. But the third part of the DVD focuses entirely on the Rolling Back Attack. This is a great primer for more advanced lower body entries to expose the back.
The only problem with Ryan’s DVDs is they are fairly hard to get or very expensive. If you are lucky you can get used ones for a few bucks on amazon/ebay though.
I think once you studied Tom Halpin’s and Ryan Hall’s sets on Back Attacks you should be a back attack master… atleast theoretically.
The rest comes down to practice and experience. But with all that knowlege you should have many things to play around with and problem-solve when rolling!
The third major source of information on Back Attacks is competition footage of great competitors!
If you put in the work, watch and analyze competition footage you can learn A LOT. Depending on your skill level you can even learn intuitevly by watching great athletes move (but thats a topic for a another post).
The good thing about competition footage is that it is already “filtered”. If you just search for back takes on YouTube or Google you will find TONS of information on back attacks but sadly many of the techniques you’ll find just suck. They lack the evidence they would work in a real match against a good grappler and most just wont!
The stuff that already works at the highest level of competition should always guide your own studies.
The best back takers today are Felipe Pena and Gordon Ryan in my opinion. They have quite different styles yet both are incredible! So you could start your own research by studying these two.
Luckily the great Gambledub already made an awesome gif collection of Felipe Pena’s back attacks and set ups.
Some of Felipe’s back takes are from the fancier kind but you should never forget the bread and butter back takes will always be the basics!
A future post will cover what I consider basic or fundamental skills a bit more in depth.
Also I updated my Back Attack Resources with some stuff on Felipe Pena for your studies!