The Most Important Escape?

If I asked you what is the most important escape in jiu-jitsu, what would you say?

If we asked a room full of students at the Gracie Barra school this question, for certain at least one hand would be raised in the air “I get stuck underneath side control and can’t get out. How do I escape?”

Yes, this just might be the #1 problem for first year jiu-jitsu students. Therefore, it follows that the solution to the biggest problem is likely the most important escape. This escape is a technique not only important for white belts, but one that all jiu-jitsu students will use everytime they roll for their entire jiu-jitsu careers.

Fundamentals Jiu-Jitsu: Recovering The Guard From Side Mount

There are multiple variations of side control and the different escapes for escaping those respective variations but the most commonly used escape from side control is the guard replacement or “elbow to knee” escape – as taught by Prof. Flavio Almeida in the video above.

Having confidence in your ability to recover guard from the bottom of side control is super important for a less obvious reason: it helps your submission game from guard.

How does an escape help your submissions?

When you are unsure of your ability to escape side control after giving up a guard pass, you become afraid to try that triangle attack from your guard for fear that you will fail and end up in a bad position. When you have faith in your ability to escape side control, it frees up your jiu-jitsu and you can own up (and thereby improve) your offensive game from the guard.

Here are 3 tips on how to better perform the most important escape in jiu-jitsu.

1) Your first priority is to protect yourself. Place your arms in a defensive position with elbows in  tight to your body. Think of using your arms as frames instead of trying to push your opponent off of you – which requires much more strength.

2) Create the space. One Gracie Barra instructor explained it to our class like this: “The job of the guy on top is to remove all space and be tight. The guy on the bottom needs to do the opposite – create space.” How do we create space?

This is where all of those bridges and shrimping down the mats come into use – move your hips!

3) Timing. If your opponent is 100% focused on holding you in side control and applying all of their weight…escaping is not easy! Black belts know that to attack a submission requires moving your position and releasing some of that pressure and opening a little space. Now is your time to bridge, shrimp and perform your escape. Go in the moment your opponent attempts an attack and take

Master Carlos Gracie Jr.’s Philosophy on Jiu-jitsu Self Defense