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This website is about Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ). I'm a black belt who started in 2006, teaching and training at Artemis BJJ in Bristol, UK. All content ©Can Sönmez

16 June 2011

16/06/2011 - Teaching (Escaping Mount)

Teaching #007
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 16/06/2011

I'm finishing up my series on the mount with escapes. For this lesson, I wanted to cover the two simplest methods of escaping the mount: I'll look into incorporating other options further down the line. There were a few drills I wanted to add, beginning with shrimping in pairs again (one person standing by the others armpits, bottom person shrimps back to guard). I also had them do bridges from side to side, then with a big step.

The first basic escape is the trap and roll. A typical starting point would be when they try to establish their first grip on your collar for a choke. That provides you with a chance to trap their arm. The usual grip would be to grab their wrist with your opposite hand, then their elbow with your other hand. There are various other possibilities, like wrapping the arm, but the essential thing is to stop their ability to post their hand for base.

You could also bring your linked arms over one of theirs, to bend their elbow and trap the arm. That's especially useful when you intentionally set up this escape, bumping them forward to get them to post their hands on the floor. You also need to trap their leg on that same side. Otherwise, they will be able to use that for base as you attempt to roll them. In order to prevent that, step your same side foot over their lower leg, hooking it in tightly. This means they are now like a chair with two of its legs missing.

To finish, you're going to bridge towards that trapped side. As with the side control escape, get your heels close to your bum first for maximum leverage. Bridge up and over your shoulder, turning into their guard. Make sure that you're bridging over your shoulder and turning to your knees, not simply rolling over to your side. If you don't raise your hips properly, you may merely give up your back.

I felt like it didn't take long to go through the basics of the trap and roll: I could have fitted in more details. I ended up teaching some additional points before progressive resistance, but instead should have done it all in one chunk. The addition was how you could still trap and and roll if they brought an arm under your head: simply reach back as if you were combing your hair to trap their arm, then progress as before. I also went through how to remove grapevines, by brining one of your feet back to your bum, then pushing off the hook on that leg with your other foot.

The trap and roll escape does work, but on its own may not be enough against an experienced opponent. Personally, I prefer the elbow escape, which relies more on shrimping than bridging. As a rule of thumb, if you're underneath, you don't want to be flat on your back. So, start your elbow escape by turning to your side and working your elbows inside their knee. Keep defending your neck throughout, so that your elbows form a frame. Create some space by bridging. You can then use your frame to help you shrimp into the space you just created, pushing against their leg.

The idea is to make enough space to pull your leg through: don't just bridge and plop back down. That leg will need to be flat, the other raised, or it will be hard to pull it free. Once it's out, you can then use that leg to wrap around one of theirs. Getting to half guard may be a possibility here, but generally I'd recommend working towards full guard. To do that, keep shrimping and framing until both legs are free.

You can also use a frame against their hips, one arm across, the other bracing against that wrist, elbow in tight. That's also handy for stopping them moving up higher in mount. However, be extra careful with your neck if you do that: as your arms are down by their hips, that could leave you vulnerable to chokes. I'm not sure I was clear enough with my explanation here, so that's something I want to improve next time.

As with any technique, try to combine your escapes rather than obsessing over just one. Also, don't give them your head: that's what the person on top wants for control. Connected to that, make sure you always defend your neck and keep your elbows tight. This is something I mentioned to Ryan afterwards, as he was asking what to do with bigger guys. I'm a small guy, so this is what I tend to do most classes: stay really tight, elbows in, knees curled up, not leaving anything loose for them to attack, or space for them to wedge their hands through.

Finally, I was reminded of a safety point regarding grips, as one of the white belts tweaked their finger. You should never grip inside the sleeve or trouser cuff: not only is that IBJJF competition illegal, it is also dangerous. If they suddenly twist or wrench, you're going to hurt your fingers. A better option is to use your thumb to make a 'pocket' for your four fingers, gripping the outside of the cuff, or a pistol grip (where you grasp the gi material in your fist).

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