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Fundamental Five of Escapes

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    Fundamental Five of Escapes

    SBG does something awesome with a lot of their instruction. They'll take a "game" or range of positions and techniques and break them down to really core fundamentals. The concepts and points they end up deriving are so basic that they anyone's game and can be taught broadly, but still allow the individual athletes to apply them with their own style. For example, they've got what they called the Fundamental Five of Top Game, which are five things you must do to play top game, regardless of if you play it heavy or light or fast or slow, prefered grips, favorite submission. So while everyone might have a different style, the fundamentals they are applying are all still the same.

    They just so happen to have came up with a Fundamental Five of Escapes from bottom. Here are some choice quotes from where people were explaining these:
    The fundamental five for escapes from the bottom

    #1 The H&H position, aka: 'Beachball' position.

    The HH position is the crucial escaping posture the body needs to move to without conscious effort if you want to escape effectively.

    The first H stands for HIP, and means simply, be on ONE hip, and never caught flat with two hips on the mat. So the shrimping motion and hip movement occurs as the person is passing. Starting flat on your back will make any escape much harder, so learning to automatically go to your side is crucial.

    The second H stands for hunchback. . .that means that you want to be a BALL on the mat, and never a board.

    What you want to do is try and touch the insides of your shoulders together, while at the same time bringing them up as if you where also trying to touch your ears with your shoulders. So your back becomes rounded out, and your shoulders ball up creating a turtle neck. This makes you at least 50% harder to pin down alone.

    So at the same time as you move to one hip, you also ball up into the hunchback position. So hip & hunchback, or H&H.

    #2 Hands between you and your opponent. The most common mistake, after simply laying flat on your back, is to reach around your opponents body and grab them. When your arms become extended they are weak, they are easy to 'kill' and they are vulnerable to submissions. But, on top of all that they also greatly restrict your ability to move by shrimping or working a hip heist. In addition, when your arms are outside your opponents body you are also leaving your own torso unprotected. That means your opponent now has a nice table top to place his weight on to. This mistake, more then any other I can think off, will make your opponent feel twice as heavy then if you where to keep your arms between you and them properly. When your arms stay in then your opponent is forced to lay his weight atop your forearms and elbows. This makes it MUCH easier for you to create space. While at the same time making it MUCH harder for him/her to dig for underhooks, kill the arms, and generally hold you down. These first two principles, H&H position, and hands between you and your opponent, are crucial steps that need to be acquired before we can properly begin working the fundamental escapes.

    #3 See & Feel: Now that your on one hip, your shoulders are tucked, your back is rounded, and your hands are in between you and your opponent, it's time to notice how they are holding you, and feel where their weight is placed.

    Often times beginners attempt the same escape over and over, and the escape attempt being attempted is not even a functional one when considering how the person on top is holding you. This is a tremendous waste of energy. So before exploding with your escape take notice of where your opponents hands are at. Are you in a crossface? Does he have two hands on the near side? Is your far arm underhooked? etc. This will help to keep you from wasting precious fuel. That way you can attempt the proper escape, for the proper hand position. As you do this, use your elbows underneath them as a kind of ball bearing, rocking them gently up or down, and feeling where the most resistance is at. Is their weight more towards your head, or your feet? Or is it perhaps sitting back into the mat, or to far forward over the mat? All this can be done solely be feel, and after a few hours of drilling you will automatically process all this information in less then a second or two. Doing these two things everytime you find yourself stuck on bottom will allow you to escape in the easiest manner. That is, not fighting your opponents weight.

    #4: The 90%-10% rule: Once the first three principles are achieved how well you will be able to escape against a bigger, heavier, stronger athlete will be predicated on something we can sum up in two words: HIP MOVEMENT. The general rule therefore must be 90% - 10%. That means that in the Gym, and in all training sessions, the athlete must use 90% hip movement (hip heist or shrimp), and 10% upper body strength to work all escapes.

    #5 The three primary escapes:

    there is three possible way you can ever escape from bottom:

    1- Pull Guard.

    2- Get to your hands and knees, (hip heist-quarter position).

    3- Reverse the position by rolling them.
    Another poster put them this way:To clarify, "straight jacket" refers to a posture SBG teaches for being under side control. Your arm nearest to them is laid across your chest with your hand resting on your opposite shoulder. Your other arm lays across your stomach with your hand on your hip. Like a straight jacket. This prevents them from making chest on chest contact or getting a underhook on the far arm, which makes getting the underhook on them easier while escaping.

    Boxing posture is the more standard one that most people know, where you have your hands up by your neck and your elbows in.

    I hope that helps.

    Being on one hip makes it easier as well, to quicky turn on your arm and tuck it underyourself, that is about to have a nasty kimura or etc done on it.


      Aesop, I always love your posts. I read them at home/work and it just gets me fired up as hell to get to bjj class. Can't wait till tomorrow night.

      Also, I had a private seminar with Royce Gracie, and one of the main things he emphasized for defending from bottom is to never be flat on your back. Just remembering to do put one hip up creates space that can be used to shrimp and escape. It's so simple, yet effective.

      Incidentally this private was about 10 days after he got creamed by hughes. His face was a little bruised up, but he didn't seem embarrassed at all. He was pretty cool actually.


        Yeah... I imagine he is going to emphaize defending from bottom.. I learnerd how to defend the postion he was in before they stoped the fight.... lol that is cool though... yes and Aseo is much the awesomeness with the postness.


          Great post!


            Good stuff. Its kinda what you expect from the SBG. They're the good guys.


              Thanks v much Aesopian, I was acutally meaning to ask you to post some of the "fundamental five" you referred to in a previous post - is there any chance you could post the F5 of guard passing next?


                Thanks Aesopian. You are indeed the "Best Poster Evar!"


                  You're giving away all the good secrets - enough! :-)


                    I have official sanctions to share military intelligence.


                      this is very good information. I really needed some info on escaping and was about to post a topic on it, but all my questions on this topic have been answered. Thanks Aesopian.


                        I've never seen the "straight jacket" posture before. Is this mainly used to teach people to use their hips more or do people actually use it at higher levels?


                          Very good post.


                            Thanks Aeso, number two is my re-occurring hang-up. A lot of the time I take these out of order and don't start working my hands inside and into a proper frame until I have gone through the "look and feel" and determined where their base is weak.

                            Never thought of this order, SBG presents a great way to conceptualize the process. Thanks again.



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