500 Fighting Words: Straight Jacket
- 500 Fighting Words: Straight Jacket
- Straight Jacket
- A Prodigy
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This article is part of an ongoing series, 500 Fighting Words, where we discuss one position, person, or event in 500 words or less.
Back Mount is the best position in mixed martial arts. I know I know, Roger Gracie did Lex Fridman’s podcast and he adamantly argued that mount is the best. I agree with his argument in gi but in no gi and mixed martial arts there are elements that make back mount more appealing.
In no gi grappling and mixed martial, arts mount lacks immediate submission opportunities relative to back mount, your legs are immediately available to attack when your opponent begins escaping, and back mount has several variations that make it more versatile; you can maintain hooks, body triangle, take them face down, or combine these options. I wish Lex and Roger had spent more time on that topic, but, we’re not here to talk about podcasters, we’re here to talk about back mount and two attacks that are missing from the position in MMA. Rather, one devastating system that already exists in Brazilian jiujitsu competition, but has yet to make it over to MMA even though we’ve already seen some brush up against it.
John Danaher, Gordon Ryan, and New Wave Jiujitsu are the most prominent names in jiujitsu today. Their leg locking system might have catapulted them to fame, but, in my estimation, the most effective piece of jiujitsu that they added to the sport is the popularization of the straight jacket system.
The straight jacket system involves four key details:
- Start in seat belt laying on your under hooking side
- Your low leg wraps across your opponent’s waist
- Your high leg pinches outside, able to move and attack
- You hands open to make cross grips on your opponent’s wrists
Above you can see Gordon Ryan using the straight jacket to cross grip Pedro Marinho’s arms, push the high arm down to trap it with his leg, and then secure a rear naked choke. There is no reason MMA fighters shouldn’t be trying this. In fact, one already has approximated it multiple times.
Before we go any further I want to present two gifs.
In these two sequences we see BJ Penn use his high leg to trap an arm and hurt his opponent as a distraction to set up a rear naked choke. I can’t think of a legitimate reason why competent grapplers in MMA couldn’t systematize this attack, add it to the straight jacket system, and hurt their opponent before trapping an arm to set up a rear naked choke. The technique itself doesn’t require much flexibility, and as long as you have grips to maintain chest to back connection you can keep your opponent firmly locked in place.
One thing to point out is that Penn uses his bottom arm to punch and Stevenson starts to escape. To prevent that, you should maintain a tight under hook with your head on the opposite side of theirs.
Back mount is underutilized in MMA and we’ll do a more thorough study on the position and its attacks. We’re already at 500 words today.