DVD Review: Ryan Hall Back Attacks

Ryan Hall (as any top lightweight bjj fighter) is incredibly good in taking the back and finishing from there. He released a back attack dvd a while back which I will now review. 

Ryan actually states in the DVD that a lighter fighter must have a good back attack game in order to compete at a high level. I believe this is mostly because lighter guys cannot control their opponents in side control using their weight so easily. Of course, a good back attack helps in every weight division

The DVD consists of 3 discs:
-          Principles of back control
-          Finishing
-          Rolling back attack

Overall, Ryan takes his time with each position often explaining the philosophy behind each technique whether it is staying tight to your opponent, occupying a certain space that opponent has revealed or using a certain lever. This style makes sure that you understand every part of the technique but can sometimes lead to long explanation for each technique, which might make the dvd heavy to watch at times. Fortunately Ryan makes sure he shows every technique as a complete sequence from a few angles. This avoids the problem I’ve had with Saulo’s Jiu Jitsu revolution where the technique becomes so dissected into tiny bits and philosophies that you might only get no or one quick showing of the technique sequence without explanation (when you’ve watched a dvd 10 times, you don’t always want to hear the whole story but just see the technique)

Principles of back control offers a detailed view on the back position. It explains ways to take the back (such as the chair sit), control the back (harness grip, kimura grip etc.) and regain the back. Ryan goes through even very basic so you could almost pick the dvd without significant experience of attacking the back in bjj.

The principles section offers very good basic movements to obtain the back from side control, the most important of which is most likely the chair sit (grab over/under while the back is exposed, step the upper leg over, pull the guy on his other side in insert other hook). In “spin behind” Ryan also goes through how to quickly switch sides while the opponent starts facing you in side control and establish the back with the chair sit. These 2 techniques are incredibly useful!  The “harness attack” offers a slightly maybe riskier substitute for the chair sit. In the harness Ryan throws his upper body on his shoulder and between his opponent’s back and the mat, when he has the over/under control and aggressively looks for the back.

A good part of the first disc goes through all basic ways to control the back position including the most common over/under (or the harness), the double under, the kimura grip etc. On the second disc he links these controls to submissions.

The second disc labeled finishing  is mostly about going through every common back attack in gi jiu jitsu and the ideas behind them. However, I almost enjoy it more when he deviates from the plot a bit. Ryan goes through things like straight armlock breaks etc. There are a lot of valuable things on this disc not even so much related to finishing from the back. The disc is definetly not a boring straightforward list of finishes. 

More importantly this disc includes ways to flow with your opponent’s reactions en route to submission. What I mean is that Ryan explains the whole process of technique combinations to arrive from side control to a back submission. For example, Opponent turns into you -  spin behind –Ezekiel choke with chair sit. Brilliant stuff!

The third section is more specific and focuses on the rolling back attack.The first half consists of principles and details about the technique while the second half is about setting the rolling back attack from different positions such as the side mount, mount and half guard. 

Overall, I’ve tried ”grapevining” the leg with the lock down as Eddie Bravo suggests for the rolling back attack but Ryan’s approach of hooking the leg works better for me.  I don’t mean I would just hook the leg and roll but instead use the other foot to trap the knee. The way Ryan shows this is that you put your free leg as basically as a butterfly hook once you’ve trapped your opponent’s leg with your near leg. This gives me good hip mobility but limits his movement quite substantially.

What I like about Ryan Hall DVDs is that he explains methods of gracefully abandoning the technique if it doesn’t seem to work on the opponent in question. In chapter 9 “the bail out” Ryan explains how to abandon the rolling back attack and get back to side control (As in the deep half DVD he explains how to get back to butterfly guard) In my opinion this makes learning the position in live sparring much more comfortable. When you practice it and it doesn’t work perhaps due to too little experience with it, you can revert back to you’re A game (in this case your side control) by knowing these moves

Overall grade 9+/10 (great especially for lighter guys)

1 comment:

  1. Back attacks is one of my weakest areas in BJJ. RYan Hall's dvd sounds like a great one to own.