A new Gordon Ryan instructional. Is there anything more I need to write? So far, Ryan has a solid track record of BJJ instructionals (bar his very first one on conditioning). He has been systematically breaking down some of the crucial positions in BJJ, offering systems he has developed in collaboration with John Danaher. So far, he has stuff on the closed guard, passing the guard, and attacking the turtle. He is a very well rounded grappler with knowledge in all of these areas, but we have been waiting t see something he really specializes in. The moment has finally come, with Ryan’s latest DVD dubbed Systematically Attacking The Back. About time.
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Gordon Ryan – Systematically Attacking The Back
I guess there’s no better time for a Gordon Ryan instructional. The COVID-19 madness seems to be heading towards a resolution that will have us all back on the mats quite soon. That means there’s enough time to spend hours watching this instructional (which lasts a solid 10 hours). Moreover, it means the time when you can give things a try is actually not that far away. The perfect storm. To that extent, what you can expect from Systematically Attacking the Back is the same as any other Gordon Ryan Instructional, but on steroids.
A New Era Of Back Attacks
The back has never been a position that has fallen out of favor, sort to speak. People do not like someone behind them, and for a good reason – we have no idea what’s going on there. Getting the back is highly favorable not just because of the submission options it offers, but also because it lands you 4 points at a tournament – the most you can get. In fact, it is the one position that is considered a top spot to be in under any rule set out there.
That said, the back became notoriously hard to finish from, given the heavy usage. People start to learn to look for the back from day one, and they soon get good at it. That just means defense is also getting the next level. For a period of time, the finishing rate form the back was quite low, particularly with direct submissions like the rear-naked choke, or the bow and arrow choke. Then, the Danaher back attack system, called Straight Jacket came along.
Now, all credit to Danaher who developed an interesting alternative way of dealing with defenses and skyrocketing submission rates, the fat is, he needed people that would execute it. And none of his star students did it better than Gordon Ryan. In fact, the introduced a lot of his own little tricks into it, so much so, that people now try to avoid having him on their backs as much as they are afraid of having him wrapped around a leg. The “Systematically Attacking The Back” Gordon Ryan instructional can be the perfect extension of Danaher’s back attack system. However, it is more than solid to use on its own, particularly for competitors who need results quickly.
Gordon Ryan’s Proven Back Attack System
After the initial game-changing flurry of leg lock finishes, Ryan decided to switch things up even as early as his performances at the EBI. At his last couple of performances there, he didn’t really go for the legs, but opted to strangle people, and chose the back as his go-to position. Suffice to say, he did what he does anyway, submit everyone, showcasing he was much more than a one-trick pony.
Cue all his performances, well, everywhere, from Third Coast Grappling and Quintet to the ADCC and his back mount became the stuff of nightmares. At the last ADCC, he actually had more submission finishes from the back than any other type of victory. His back system is a polished and competition tested, to say the least. Paired with the fact that the King is just as great at teaching as he is at strangling folks, this Gordon Ryan instructional is exactly what we needed. Personally, I love the back mount and have been studying Danaher’s stuff since it came out. What I can safely say is that if you have the patience to use both, your back attack game will become unstoppable, unless you’re grappling with Ryan himself. In other words, picking up “Systematically Attacking the Back” is a must for any BJJ competitor out there.
Systematically Attacking The Back Gordon Ryan Instructional Review
As is the case with Danaher Death Squad DVDs, this Gordon Ryan instructional is a long one. It comes in the familiar format of 8 parts, starting with concepts you’ve never thought relate to the back, and ending with some, by now mandatory, narrated rolls, or as they’re called in this DVD, sparring breakdowns. In between, them are the volumes where all the back attacking sorcery of the world’s best grappler is. And he is revealing his secrets in Systematically Attacking The Back.
We’re used by now to a lot of information when it comes to a Gordon Ryan Instructional. Well, feel free to expect more. Yeah, that’s right. In this DVD, Ryan surpasses even himself in the amount of detail he shares. Expected, I guess, given his proficiency with strangling from the back. Expect a lot of back retention details that even Danaher skipped over in his instructional. IN other words, nobody is going to be able to get you off their back, and that’s where the main focus of the DVD is. Well, that and a bunch of different ways, each more brutal than the other, to choke someone from behind.
Part 1 – The Inner Workings Of The System
Introduction, a few principles, and straight down to work. That’s how the “usual” Gordon Ryan Instructional starts. Well, the portion on “a few principles” is extended in this one, to say the least. There’s a unique approach to the body and the concept of asymmetry that is going to change the way to attack in general, not just form the back.
Control is a big theme here, and Ryan goes over different aspects of it. As it turns out, there are many little nuances to staying on someone’s back, and being in total control all the time. Ryan uses several different control mechanisms, all of which are explained here. The information in this volume is crucial to understanding what comes next, so be sure to really spend some time understanding what Ryan is demonstrating.
There’s also a lot on goal setting in this opening volume. Another interesting approach of Ryan’s which states that you should have specific goals, both offensive and defensive when you have the back. Grips have a lot to do with this, so he goes deep into the intricacies of grip fighting form the back as well. The volume ends with an introduction to the overhook side, or the one Ryan seems to favor attacking from.
Part 2 – Riding The Back
The interesting about the back is that it is not really easy to get, and it can be extremely difficult to stay on it. And I’m not talking about having any sort of control yet. I’m just talking about becoming a human backpack that is impossible to shake off no matter how an opponent rolls or wiggles. IN other words, that is riding the back, and exactly what Ryan focuses on in the second volume of Systematically Attacking The Back.
He starts off with hooks, and how you can use them to control even when opponents try and clear them. The first ride Ryan goes over is the high ball ride, and it ties in perfectly to attacking from the overhook side. In fact, this entire volume focuses on controlling from the overhook side, although there are some references and comparisons to the underhook side too. A few neat counters to grip defenses are also on the agenda here, with the half claw one to keep an eye out for in particular.
Part 3 – Countering Movement
As Ryan starts to explore the underhook side, he also tightens things up, even more, form the back. In this volume there’s a lot of attention to head position, and how to keep the hooks on even when opponent’s try to clear them off. It is also where Gordon goes deeper into explaining some of the terms he uses in his back system, and how they differ from each other, and from conventional methods of control. The ball ride makes an appearance again, this time in relation to the underhook side.
Countering movement goes so far in this part of the Gordon Ryan instructional, that he offers an option at every step of an escape, from trying to clear a hook to an opponent successfully getting to the turtle. In other words, this is where you learn to stay glued to the back as Ryan does.
Part 4 – The Cross Body Ride
The Danaher Death Squad likes to use a lot of wrestling in their game, and that is apparent once again. the cross body ride is something most people in BJJ do not spend any time on. Well, after this instructional, you’ll be looking at it from a very different perspective. I know I am. Suddenly, the cross-body ride becomes the perfect checkpoint to linger in and use to get to or reclaim back position. And that’s exactly what Ryan demonstrates in this proton of Systematically Attacking the back.
Moreover, he shares a few neat and unexpected submissions from there. In those terms, he goes over a sneaky guillotine, a brutally effective hammerlock, as well as some smooth transitions into Ashi Garami and the invariable leg locks.
Part 5 – Grip Fighting And Finishing
For me, winning the grip fight has always been the number one battle form the back. There are different ways of staying on the back, although Ryan’s are definitely the only ones you’ll need. Still, grip fighting, particularly with stubborn opponents, can be a really frustrating thing. That said, after watching this volume of the Gordon Ryan instructional, I can’t wait to go back to the mats and test a few theories out.
In terms of this instructional DVD, his volume is the biggest one. Ryan covers anything you might think of, from pummeling to losing an underhook. There’s some information here that was clearly lacking in Danaher’s earlier DVDs.
Moreover, grip fighting ties in perfectly with finishing, as you have to deal with the grips before ever thinking about strangling someone. A lot of the straight jacket principles are explained further here, with terms like straight grips and cross grips in the focus of things again. There’s also a very big portion dedicated to grip braking, featuring crazy stuff like the ten-finger grip break and some neat grab counters.
Part 6 – The Straight Jacket System 2.0
The cherry on the cake in Systematically Attacking the Back come is n the form of tying everything together in a much more practical version of the StraightJacket system. The grip fighting is the essence of the StraightJacket, and Ryan did dedicate the largest part of this instructional to solving that particular problem. Given the amount of information on riding and controlling, the stage is set for finishing the job. This is also where Ryan rolls out the dilemma attacks.
In other words, he threatens with several things, making the opponent chose the lesser of two evils, which is just another way to tap out, really. Speaking of evils, Gordon goes over some truly diabolical chokes here. It is not just the rear-naked choke, but also mandible strangles and a thing called the garrote choke that will make people’s eyes pop out, literally.
I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the mindset behind fishing from the back. It really is something not many others cover and makes a huge difference in how you approach back attacks.
Parts 7 & 8 – Sparring Breakdowns
As is the case with any Gordon Ryan instructional, there’s a lot of sparring at the end, with Ryan doing commentary. Of course, he spends a lot of the time sparring going for the back, allowing for all kinds of different situations to arise that people would usually have to deal with.
Whether it is because of the importance of the subject, or because Gordon loves to take the back. Instead of the usual one volume for narrated rolling, Systematically Attacking The Back contains two such volumes. There are 5 rolls in each, and in some of them, we see the return of Placido as a Uke.
A Gordon Ryan Instructional on taking the back and finishing from there is not something to skip over if you train BJJ. It is pretty much right out there with him releasing a leg locking instructional, which I certainly hope is in the works. That said, Systematically Attacking the Back is yet another amazing DVD that you should include in your collection. Be ready to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out, though, as the amount of information in there sin staggering!
ON SALE HERE:
Gordon Ryan – Systematically Attacking The Back