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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

06 October 2014

06/10/2014 - Teaching | Side Control | Escape to the Knees

Teaching #206
Artemis BJJ (Bristol Sports Centre), Can Sönmez, Bristol, UK - 06/10/2014

We've now opened at our second venue! It's called PHNX Fitness and is over in Kingswood, down Two Mile Hill Road. I've got a map up on the Artemis BJJ website, so will be filling in the full directions once I get a chance to take some more pictures of the outside (so, probably Saturday before open mat).

In the class last Wednesday at Bristol Sports Centre, I went through the basic guard recovery. The logical next step is the second basic escape, from much the same position. The difference is that you turn to your knees rather than look for guard. Roy Dean is a useful reference point, so I'll be drawing on his method from Blue Belt Requirements as usual.

It begins in much the same way as the shrimp back to guard, again establishing that frame with your arms, knee into the side and bridging. I've got more extensive notes on that initial position in a previous write-up. Remember to keep in mind that they might try to attack the arm you have into their neck, and also to use your forearm to block the hip rather than your hand. There is an alternative side control frame that Saulo uses, where you block the cross-face with that arm instead, an equally valid approach.

After you bridge and shrimp this time, you're going to do something different with the arm you have into their neck. Rotate it under their armpit, then reach for their legs or around their back. Roy Dean then shifts out to the side, ending up crouched next to them (as in the picture).

From there, he reaches for the far knee and drives forward, moving to the top position. Another typical method leaves you square on, but I personally am not keen on that position as I find it is more awkward to crawl up into a strong base from there. However, again, it is a totally valid variation: experiment to see what works best for you.

Teaching Notes: Not too much to add as I've taught this class many times before, but there were two things I'll be considering for next time. First off, when best to use the escape to knees is something worth considering. I hardly ever use it in sparring, as I will almost always go for either the guard recovery or running escape. So, showing the context for the escape to knees could be useful.

Secondly, there are two versions of the turn the the knees. There is the Roy Dean option where you end up on the side, which I think is the easiest one to understand. There is also the one where you end up square on, the first version I learned. I have never found that one useful, as I find it's too easy for them to sprawl on you and squash you down when doing that. But it is still a valid option: just because I don't have much success with it doesn't mean someone else couldn't. So, something to consider.


  1. But don't you find that when you use the Roy Dean "side" version, your opponent will typically rotate towards north/south, effectively putting you "square on" to them anyway?

  2. Not so far: if I get that initial turn to my knees right, I end up with my knee by their knee with an arm around their back. But that can be a big 'if'. ;)