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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

10 July 2013

10/07/2013 - Dónal Private: Running Escape Details

Class #508 - Private #010
Gracie Barra Bristol, (BJJ), Dónal Carmody, Bristol, UK - 10/07/2013

It's been three months since my last private with Dónal, initially due to some exams he was finishing off, then my trip to California. While in California, it was brought home to me yet again how much time I spend stalling in the running escape position. That renewed my desire to finally move on to the important part of the technique: the actual escape.

I have been mentioning the fact that I've been using the running escape to stall for a long while now. I've taught the technique myself a number of times, so I have an increasingly detailed idea of what I'm supposed to be doing, I just haven't been doing it. This month marks my first real attempt to make a concerted effort at practicing that escape portion, starting with some drilling last Sunday.

The first point I took away from today's session was using the elbow to make some space before you go for the hip swing. After you have shoved your elbow into their chest, continue to extend it to push them further. Initially, especially if you are very defensive like me, that feels as if you're leaving it vulnerable. However, because you are immediately following up the elbow shove and arm extension with a hip bump and leg swing, they don't have a chance to capitalise on your arm being out there.

That bump with the hip is the second thing to emphasise. I know you are supposed to knock them with your hips to put them off balance and create space, but practicing with Dónal brought home just how important that was. Also, after you have bashed them with your hips, don't just flop if they manage to resist the bump. Instead, you have several options, which we drilled extensively in the private.

You can simply reset to a strong tripod, which at least prevents them from crushing down and passing. You also don't want to give up too easily, as you may find that you can continue pushing through and snatch a triangle or omoplata. If the way is definitely blocked, swivel your hips in the other direction. Spin right through, without your knee touching the floor, then move straight into butterfly guard and sweep. If you can't get your foot inside, you can go for an armdrag and back take inside, or armdrag and knee pick to take the top position.

Dónal also mentioned a few interesting tweaks from Norbi. He sometimes lies flopped in an even less active running escape posture than I would use, with both knees on the floor, arm underneath one of the legs. When he wants to move into an active escape, he braces his elbow under the top knee to raise it up (that brace making it hard for the top person to break down) and then move into the hip bump and swing.

Another tactic Norbi uses is baiting mount, by widening his legs in the running escape position, leaving a gap between his elbow and knee so it looks like a path to mount. As soon as they bring their leg over, he shoves it back between his legs with his elbow. You can then move into a deep half sweep, or establish full half guard.


  1. Have also stalled in this position. Will workshop your options. Thanks!

    1. Cool: let me know how you get on, Matt. :)