Mendes and Marcelo: Back Mount Kings

April 7, 2013
4 minutes read

Rafael Mendes and Marcelo Garcia…Two people you definitely do not want on your Back

As we have seen jiu jitsu progress over the years, many things have changed. However, if there is one thing that has not changed one bit, it’s the fact that the back mount is the most dominant position in the game.

Two BJJ competitors who stand out in the category masters of the back mount are Rafael Mendes and Marcelo Garcia.

Both very different in their styles, they both center a large chunk of their BJJ game around getting to the back mount position to finish. Robert Drysdale (ADCC Absolute Champion) predicted that all of Jiu Jitsu would make a turn to be more back-mount oriented… and it seems as if his belief is coming true.

We know that both of these guys are phenomenal jiu jitsu competitors, but what makes them extraordinarily dangerous is their ability to achieve the back mount position on almost all of their opponents in competition.

Let’s take a look at Marcelo first:

He really is a human backpack.

Marcelo’s back takes are legendary, and it’s his style of back takes that makes him so dominant.

He can usually be seen taking the back with techniques like the arm drag. Even when he cannot spin to a complete back mount on his opponent, he uses techniques from the top turtle and positions like the crucifix to either get the submission or help him climb his way to a full on back mount.

He can even bee seen taking people’s backs off of single leg take downs.

Whatever technique he uses to get there, it’s usually one where he is traveling on the transverse plane of motion. In layman’s terms, that means moving in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction to get to the back mount.

These back takes that he hits from the transverse plane of motion are highly effective as you can see.

Rafael Mendes – “Berimbolo” Machine:

That’s a lot of berimbolos!

Rafael Mendes has a much different style than Marcelo Garcia, but is still nonetheless impressive with his back taking skills.

Rafael plays the de la riva guard almost 100% of the time when he is in the bottom position, and more likely than not, he is going to hit the berimbolo on his opponent. What makes Rafa’s berimbolo so amazing is that he hits it in almost every match, even when his opponent’s know that it is coming and know that they have to defend it.

The berimbolo is definitely an interesting technique to watch because it involves going inverted and when done swiftly, looks incredible.

As opposed to Marcelo’s back takes which occur along the transverse plane of motion, Rafael’s berimbolo back takes happen because he travels along the sagittal plane of motion.

This means that he takes his opponent’s back by getting underneath their base and going under their legs.

In the modern game of jiu jitsu, we are seeing a lot more back takes occurring from the sagittal plane of motion, especially at the lighter weights. The entanglement game is now more popular than ever, and the berimbolo back take and other sagittal plane back takes are increasingly being seen.

– – –

Both Rafael Mendes and Marcelo Garcia are kings of the back mount, and there is no doubt about that.Though both competitors are very different, they both have one thing in common: They will take your back.

-Daniel “Micro” Faggella

Daniel Faggella
Daniel Faggella

Coach Daniel is the founder and head publisher at Science of Skill, LLC. A martial arts black belt and self defense instructor, Dan has spent years training with and interviewing some of the world's best self protection experts. His passion lies in encouraging others to train smart and to improve the skills that make them safer and stronger.

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