Ethan Crelinsten’s Wrestling Up Sequence to the Back

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I hope you enjoyed my previous post on Ethan Crelinsten’s rear naked choke trick against Fabricio Andrey.​

I’ll write about the same match again, but this time, I’ll focus on Ethan’s wrestling up sequence that brought Fabricio down to the turtle position before Ethan managed to take Fabricio down.

​For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term “wrestling up,” it’s a fancy way of saying “initiating a takedown move from the bottom position.”​

You must have decent takedown skills to wrestle up, but if you do, wrestling up can be a powerful tool, especially in no-gi, where you can’t control your opponent’s upper body as easily as in gi and sweeping is much harder for that reason.​

In this sequence (from around 6:21 to 6:35 of the YouTube video), Ethan gets up from the guard, establishes the side body lock, returns Fabricio to the mat, and forces him to the turtle position.

​Let’s take a look at what’s going on in the sequence step by step.​


​Ethan takes the sitting guard position, and Fabricio looks to pass Ethan’s guard.​


​Fabricio steps forward between Ethan’s legs and gets into the knee cut position right away. As a response, Ethan curls up and lies on his right side. He doesn’t have the knee shield, and his bottom hook doesn’t seem so strong… so it’s a bit hard to say he has a proper half guard or reverse de la riva guard here. But as we will see shortly, Ethan doesn’t seem to be planning to stay in this position for long anyway.​


​Ethan kicks out his left (top) leg to create space so he can use his left arm to hug Fabricio’s right leg.


​Ethan rocks on his back and retracts his left leg to create momentum.​


​Ethan posts on his right hand and uses his right leg to trap Fabricio’s right leg.​

Notice Ethan is not in front of Fabricio but taking a perpendicular angle. This angle allows Ethan to be structurally strong against Fabricio. If he stayed in front of Fabricio, Fabricio could simply smash Ethan.​

The angle and the leg trap are the key elements in this sequence.


​Ethan then lets go of his left arm from Fabricio’s right leg and reaches for Fabricio’s lower back. The reason why Ethan can get away with this move is that Fabricio’s leg is trapped, and Fabricio can’t run away.


​Ethan lunges forward and brings his left leg behind Fabricio’s right leg. To be honest, I’m not sure about this move — though nothing happened in this sequence, I feel this is not the best position to take if you are dealing with someone decent at uchimata. In fact, uchimata against a kneeling opponent is probably the easiest uchimata variation to pull off. So, if you find yourself in this position, be aware of your opponent’s potential uchimata attempt.


​Ethan quickly gets up and starts moving toward Fabricio. I’m not sure what Ethan is doing with his right hand/arm, but Fabricio is placing his shin against Ethan’s thigh as if to defend himself from a single leg attempt. Ethan caught Fabricio with a single leg takedown from wrestling up earlier in the match… I’m guessing that Fabricio is being cautious and preventive here.​


​Ethan keeps moving towards Fabricio, forcing Fabricio to hop on one leg. Now Ethan has a deeper wrap around Fabricio’s lower back. Again, we can’t really see what’s going on with Ethan’s right hand, but we can reasonably guess that Ethan managed to connect his hands together and now has the side body lock.​


​Ethan lifts Fabricio and returns him to the mat.


​Fabricio is forced into the turtle position, and Ethan now controls Fabricio from the top.​

As I mentioned earlier, trapping Fabricio’s leg and taking a perpendicular angle are the key elements for Ethan’s wrestling up success in this case.

If you wish to try practicing this sequence, make sure to keep these points in mind.