Who Is Gordon Ryan?

Gordon Ryan has proven himself to be one of the most talented BJJ practitioners currently competing in submission only matches. A Renzo Gracie Black Belt and Member of Jonh Danaher’s infamous Death Squad, Gordon has a professional career record of 115 Matches. He successfully won 32 of those matches by submitting his opponents with the Rear Naked Choke. In 2017 and 2018 he displayed his ability to secure this submission against high-level opponents in the following competitions:

  • IBJJF Nogi World Championship
    (black belt)
  •  Quintet 3
  • IBJJF Pan Nogi
    (black belt)
  • Kasai Pro 1
  • EBI 14

Who Are His Most Notable Rear Naked Choke Wins Against?

  •  Jackson Souza
  • Vegard Randeberg
  •  Khalil Fadlallah
  •  Craig Jones
  •  Marcos Souza
  •  Kaynan Duarte
  •  Max Gimenis
  •  Max Gimenis
  •  Yuri Simões
  •  Craig Jones
  •  Casey Hellenberg
  •  Romulo Barral
  • Devhonte Johnson
  • Vagner Rocha
  • Marcel Gonçalves
  • Jean-Paul Lebosnoyani
  • Jesseray Childrey
  • Bryan Brown
  • Josh Hayden
  • Mike Hillebrand
  • Rustam Chsiev
  • Yuri Simões
  • Jacen Flynn
  • Kevin Berbrich
  • David Porter
  • Sylvio Duran
  • Avery McPhatter
  • Jason Rau
  • Ken Podgorsek
  • Humberto Perea
  • Ryan Cafaro

Submission (rear naked choke)


Being part of the John Danaher Death Squad you automatically think of leg locks such as Heel Hooks to define Gordon Ryan’s Game. But the stats show he is more diverse of a competitor than just a leg hunter. He is a well rounded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Practioner who can perform at the highest levels against the toughest Jiu-Jitsu competitors out there. From any dominant position, he is dangerous and can finish the match. 

Rear Naked Choke Stats: One of the highest percentage submissions

As displayed in the chart, since 1993 we have seen a consistent use of the Rear Naked Choke successfully applied in MMA Competitions leading to a submission.  Approximately 30% to 35% of the top 5 submissions in the UFC are by the way of the Rear Naked Choke. 

This stat is from EBI’s most successful submissions. The Rear Naked Choke tied with the Inside Heel Hook as the most successful submission during the competition. It’s high percentage effectiveness when applied is shows it to be a very dominate submission.

Free Gordon Ryan Back attack and Rear Naked Choke Case Study Notes and Mind Map
-Detailed Mind Map
-Case Study Notes


Gordon Ryan Back Attack and Rear Naked Choke Case Study Notes by BJJFAQ.com

Gordon Ryan Rear Naked Choke Case Study Notes & Mind Map Chart

Gordon Ryan Vs Graig Jones At Evolution of the Ground ep.9 (EBI 14) Is A Great Example Of His Back Attack System

Eddie Bravo’s EBI Combative Sports competition has displayed the best BJJ talent the world has to offer. One of its raining champions, Gordon Ryan defends his title against the renown Craig Jones in a match that goes into overtime. During this competition we see Gordon Ryan using a diverse number of different attacks to win his matches. He uses armbars, kimuras, and rear naked chokes. He finishes high-level grappling opponents with these submissions. 

His final match with Craig Jones is extremely exciting. These two are facing once again for the championship belt. The match begins with Craig Jones immediately going to the sitting guard. At which time he executes his entry where he attempts his leg lock game. He used the same entry in his previous matches. An active sitting guard, where he attacks one leg with an ankle lock and then transitions into a heel hook attack to the opposite leg. However, Gordon Ryan was able to free his legs quickly and neutralize Craig’s advancement. After a technical exchange of movement from both competitors are unable to submit the other.

The match for the championship goes into overtime. Both competitors are able to escape from various dominate positions. Craig Jones was able to secure a solid armbar from the back against Gordon Ryan. The submission was well position and it can be seen on Gordon’s face the urgency of escaping it before he would be forced to tap. Gordon willfully pushed through the submission attempt and was able to free his arm. 

Next, Gordon Ryan takes his back position over Craig Jones. Gordon immediately sinks in a rear naked choke that appears to be too overwhelming for Craig to overcome. Craig Jones taps to Gordon Ryan’s submission by rear naked choke.

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Our beloved boss @zaurbek_khasiev is displeased with the lack of submissions and level of stalling in recent @acb_jj events. What we must understand is that we are PROFESSIONAL athletes. Theres a difference between being a professional athlete and an amateur athlete. When you're focussing on winning worlds in the gi all you have to focus on is winning because its an amateur event. Ibjjf isnt paying you to win and they won't lose money if noone is interested in watching you lay on top of each other for every match after scoring an advantage. @acb_jj on the other hand has given athletes a platform to compete consistently for real money. When you become a professional athlete you now have 2 jobs. You have to not only focus on winning but also focus on being entertaining. Focus on being someone people will pay to watch. If noone wants to watch you because you're boring then companies cant justify paying you. Whether you're exciting on or off the mat you need to be exciting in some way. That's why connor McGregor is the highest payed fighter ever. Hes both exciting inside AND outside of the cage. Most high level jiu jitsu athletes have the personality of a card board box and dont do shit after scoring 2 points. For the 1st time we are beginning to be paid like real athletes. And its OUR job not just to win. BUT TO WIN IN AN EXCITING WAY THAT PEOPLE WANT TO WATCH. If we cant do this then jiu jitsu will just end up like wrestling.

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Gordon Ryan in action executing a sharp Rear Naked Choke during a Submission only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competition
Rear Naked Choke by Gordon Ryan
Highlight Video of Gordon Ryan’s matches where he submits his opponents with a Rear Naked Choke or A Heel Hook.

Credits: The Above video is Episode 9 of Evolution of the Ground. You can find more by visiting Eddie Bravo’s website at 10thPlanetJJ.com

Let’s Begin To Break Down! How Does Gordon Rayan’s Back Attack System and Arm Wrap Trap Technique Work?

Let us take a look at the technical breakdown of Gordon Ryan’s Rear Naked Choke Attack:

Excellent Video Break Down

Breaking Down The Gordon Ryan Arm Trap System From The Back Take

Gordon Ryan has high level success in executing the rear naked choke once he gains back control.  As we saw with Gordon’s match against Craig Jones, he obtains the traditional back take control with a standard seat belt grip around his opponent’s back. 

What are the Arm Trap Details:

  • 1) Gordon establishes the Seat Belt Grip: The Seat Belt Grip is when you take one arm and place it over the top of the shoulder of your opponent from the back control. This is called the choking arm. Then with your other arm, you place it under the opposite arm of your opponent. Both your arms connect with the bottom arm gripping your top arm ( also known as your choking arm) that is over the opponent’s shoulder.
  • 2) Establishing Arm Grips from the Seat Belt:  Gordon reaches with his choking arm and controls his opponent’s opposite arm. He then takes is bottom arm with the under hook and makes a grip to his opponent’s opposite arm securing both arms in cross wrapping position.
  • 3) Which Side Do You Fall: Once both arms are wrap establishing the position on your opponent, picking the correct side to fall to is crucial. The Correct side is the side opposite of the choking arm. So in the example above the demonstrator is falling to the side of his arm that is under hooking his opponent. There is a clear benefit to this action. One that is crucial to the whole trapping system. When you fall to the proper side (None Choking Arm Side), the mat provides you with an advantage. Your under hooking arm presses against the mat, causing the opponent’s wrapped arm on the opposite of his body to create a gap between his elbow and his ribs. In addition, the opponent’s side is laid completely flush with the ground establishing this gap between his arm and ribs on the opposite side of his body even further.
  • 4) Neutralizing one side: Now that we have made a gap with our position when falling to the correct side, the next step allows us to neutralize our opponent. The same side the gap is presented you will use your same side leg to come over the arm of your opponent and fill the space provided from the gap with your foot. This will neutralize/trap your opponent’s arm subsequently removing your opponent’s ability to defend from that side of his body. This new position adds an additional advantage to the back attack position. As it serves similar to the traditional hook which locks your opponent in position, in addition, it traps his defending arm and allows you to free your arm creating a two-arm against one arm dynamic against your opponent.
  • 5) Two against One Position: Yes, it is a fact there is a clear advantage to numbers. Two against One is always is a more advantageous position that will lead to higher rates of success. Gordon Ryan cleverly sets this up once his leg is able to secure his opponents arm. He takes his free arm and together with both arms pushes his opponents last defending arm to his hip away from the targeted neck. Gordon then takes his none choking arm and holds his arm in that position and advances with his choking arm to attack the neck. Using this systematic approach Gordon Ryan is able to quickly and securely gain the choking position in a dominant fashion. It is generally very securely set around his opponent’s neck. In addition, he takes advantage by gripping his opponent’s trapezius muscle located between a person’s shoulder and neck. By gripping this area with his choking arm secures a dominating grip right before the choke is applied.
  • 6) Completing the Choke: Gordon Ryan executes the rear naked choke in one clear and swift motion. He rarely has to defend from having his none choking arm being peeled off the choke position by his opponents. There is a reason why Gordon Ryan doesn’t have these issues. He never brings his none choking arm in a direction that will allow it to be attacked. Gordon swiftly retracts his none choking arm to the rear of his opponent. He keeps it away from danger. Gordon Ryan swiftly transitions his none choking arm from behind his opponent up to the choking arm to secure the rear naked choke. At no time is his none choking arm in a position to be attacked preventing him from securing the rear naked choke. As a defense, his opponent’s is desperately looking to disassemble the choke. His best chance of defense is to prevent the none choking arm from connecting with the choking arm securing the rear naked choke. Securing the none choking arm may provide the opponent with other escape possibilities. But Gordon Ryan cleverly executes this final movement in a manner that is swift and away from that danger. This detail is paramount. Can you imagine executing every step of the back take to lose the position to such a simple detail because you allowed your opponent one last method of defense that could have been so simple to prevent? So be careful with the last move. It is just as important than all the others and should not be rushed or done in a sloppy manner.
  • 7) Back Hooks Verses Body Triangle: We see Gordon Ryan use both! Let us break down how he uses the body triangle with this sequence. In many matches, Gordon is observed attempting to establish the body triangle lock first before he attempts his arm trapping system. It appears Gordon Ryan feels confident that he can fully control his opponent with the body triangle giving him control dominance to apply his arm trapping system without leg hooks. His set up is very much the same. He first establishes back control. From the back control and the seatbelt position, Gordon Ryan transitions his hooks to a body triangle. He then proceeds to fall to the side of the none choking arm and apply his arm trapping system as explained above. We believe Gordon Ryan prefers the body triangle control over the hooks. There can be a number of physical reasons he chooses this method over the other. From a technical perspective, we see that his body triangle control is more dominant and better secures his opponent’s hips preventing the opponent from slipping down or spinning around to top position. So try both and determine which one works best for you.

Gordon Ryan v’s Yuri Simoes at KASAI Pro Break down

This was an amazing match between two high-level BJJ Practitioners. Also, a great example of when the arm trapping system is challenged by a high level competitor. Gordon Ryan is able to establish back control. His choice of control is the body triangle lock. When Gordon Ryan is attempting to establish his arm trapping sequence Yuri begins to defend and does not allow Gordon to establish his regular sequence where he is able to arm wrap his opponent with cross grips. Rather he performs a modification that allows him gain the control he needs to secure the rear naked choke.

Gordon Ryan vs Yuri Simoes Rear Naked Choke Defense Counter
  • 8) Arm Wrap Modification: Gordon was unable to gain the traditional arm trap as discussed earlier where he has his choking arm securing his opponent’s opposite side arm and his under hook arm securing his opponent’s remaining arm. In this sequence, he is challenged with an opponent that does not allow him to gain that sequence of grips. Gordon Ryan intelligently adapts and modifies his approach. He understands that controlling the body of his opponent is paramount so he proceeds to establish control with the body triangle. This locks his opponent into place. Then systematically applies his modification of the arm wrap trapping system. Gordon Ryan begins by abandoning the cross grip method and transitioning to the Two on One grip discussed earlier. Feeling safe with his body triangle over his opponent he applies the Two on One grip to the under hook hand. It baits his opponent to defend with his free hand. Yuri Simoes attempts to defend with his free hand but falls for Gordon Ryan’s trap. Gordon takes his choking arm and grips the same side arm of his opponent and pushing it to his hips. At that moment Gordon then swaps hands secures his opponent’s arm with the under hook arm at the hip level. Gordon Ryan than adjust his body triangle to trap his operant’s arm by throwing the same side leg over that trapped arm.
  • 9) Securing The Position: Gordon was able to establish the mandatory steps to dominating the final position. Once the opponent’s arm is firmly trapped with his leg he began to apply the remainder of his arm trapping system to secure the rear naked choke. Gordon re-establishes his under hook arm grip to the free arm of the opponent. Gordon Ryan then uses his under hook arm to push down the arm of his opponent creating distance from his choking arm. When the distance is made Gordon immediately applies the choking arm and completes it with sinking in his second arm to complete the choke.
Gordon Ryan submitting Yuri Simoes by Rear Naked Choke
Gordon Ryan Back Attack System

What to do when your opponent doesn’t let you fall to the proper side to perform the arm trap system?

One key concept from Gordon Ryan’s arm trapping system is falling to the under hook side. The space created from that configuration helps creates that pocket that allows the foot to secure that arm to finish the choke. One thing we see with Gordon’s opponents they attempt to disrupt the sequence of his back attack by falling to the opposite side of the under hooking arm. Gordon Ryan counters this with the half nelson grip. Let’s break this down:

  • 10) Establishing The Half Nelson: When Gordon Ryan’s opponent falls to the side of his choking hand, Gordon counters by establishing the Half Nelson. Gordon takes his choking arm and places it behind the head of this opponent. He then grips his under hook’s arm and presses his choking arm’s forearm against the back of his opponent’s neck. The pressure from his forearm lifts his opponent off the mat where Gordon uses his under hooking arm to reposition his opponent to fall to the under hooking arm side.
  • 11) Proceeding After The Half Nelson: Once Gordon Ryan has his opponent in the desire position he begins to execute his arm trapping system. Its important to note that from the Half Nelson position on the under hooking arm side gives Gordon Ryan a very advantageous position to directly attacking the neck.  Gordon appears to like to attempt to go for the submission directly. If it is defended it allows him to transition to the arm wrap sequence. Gordon uses it as a bait to set up the grip sequence required to execute the high-level wrapping trap system.
Gordon Ryan using the Half Nelson to establish his back attack system

Here is a great example of how Gordon Ryan uses the Half Nelson to establish control of the back to implement his Back Attack with the Arm Wrap Trapping system leading to the Rear Naked Choke. 

Free Gordon Ryan Back attack and Rear Naked Choke Case Study Notes and Mind Map
-Detailed Mind Map
-Case Study Notes


Gordon Ryan Back Attack and Rear Naked Choke Case Study Notes by BJJFAQ.com

Gordon Ryan Rear Naked Choke Case Study Notes & Mind Map Chart

Click below to learn more about executing the Rear Naked Choke effectively :

Published in BJJ Blog, BJJ Fights, Submissions From Back Control

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