The rolling backtake started gaining acceptance on the mats about 10 years ago, and since then has become a mainstay of modern jiu-jitsu.
Watch any Rafa Mendes match and you’ll more than likely see him teleport to someone’s back using a variation of this move.
The fact that he does it again and again, against people who know it’s coming and are doing everything they can to stop it, means that it works.
Now many people think that the rolling backtake is one of those moves that only advanced practitioners can do.
But the truth is that it’s actually not that difficult.
You also see blue belts in both gi and no gi tournaments pulling it off, so you probably can too.
Let’s talk about how to do the rolling backtake.
Typically this move is taught from the top of half guard or side control. These are valid positions to use this move from, but I don’t think they’re are easiest places to start. There are just too many legs waving all over the place and they require a little more flexibility.
Instead you might want to play with BJJ black belt Matt Kwan’s variation that starts in mount and engangles both of your opponent’s legs instead of just one.
To learn this move you should watch the video below, but here are the condensed steps first…
- Start in mount where your opponent is trying to hip escape out
- Turn to face his back and wedge your front knee into his belly
- Switch your base, your rear leg posting with your foot on the ground, right behind his knees
- Control his bottom leg near the ankle with your closest hand
- Triangle your legs around both of his legs (or just pinch them tight)
- Roll over his body, head towards his feet, kick both feet hard to the floor to scissor wedge his hips
- Immediately grab his shoulder and climb to his back.
This will all be clearer if you check it out in video form. Here you go:
As you can see, Matt is a very gifted teacher, combining strong conceptual jiu-jitsu with a no-nonsense, competition-proven, step-by-step approach to teaching technique.
And there’s more where that came from!
This video is an excerpt from the Modern Jiu-Jitsu instructional with Matt Kwan that I’m in the final stages of editing.
If you’re at all interested in learning how to add modern BJJ moves like the berimbolo, the crab ride, and different variations of the rolling backtake (or learning how to defend them) then you should check it out.
Click here, or add your name to the early bird notification list below so you can be the first person at your gym to murder everyone with these moves!