Every jiu-jitsu practitioner has experienced the struggle that is escaping the back body triangle. It squeezes the air from your lungs, compresses your rib cage, and can feel impossible to escape, all while you’re forced to defend your neck.
In a recent video with Bernardo Faria, top no-gi grappler Gordon Ryan detailed his method for escaping that pesky body triangle. The video was filmed as part of the roll-out of Ryan’s new back escape instructional.
Consistent with the teachings of his coach John Danaher, Ryan has a clear, systematic approach to escaping the body triangle. One key to this escape, says Ryan, is to ensure that the neck is always protected. Ryan does this by using what he calls the “primary hand” to block the choking arm from reaching his neck.
“The first thing I have to understand is that I cannot just put my hands down and play with Bernardo’s feet and get strangled,” he said.
With his neck safe, Ryan then has a free (“secondary”) hand to unravel his opponent’s body triangle, and he details above exactly how to do that. Again, though, the key is always keeping your neck safe.
“If at any point Bernardo separates my primary hand from his hand,” Ryan said, “I have to stop what I’m doing and replace the primary hand.”
Gordon Ryan was a 2019 ADCC double gold medalist and is considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound no-gi competitor in the world. Prior to the match against Rowe, Ryan had twice competed in 2021 in dominant submission wins over Roberto Jimenez and Vagner Rocha. In May, Ryan announced his leave of absence from competition due to chronic stomach issues. In October, Ryan returned to face UFC fighter Philip Rowe in an exhibition match at Who’s Number One.