Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a dynamic martial art that seamlessly flows between offense and defense. Many beginners love to learn the latest and coolest sweeps and submissions, but defense is actually the most important aspect to understand in the early stages of one’s journey.
There are many ways to initiate your escaping techniques in BJJ. Perhaps one of the most straightforward means is to use pushing techniques to create distance and recover position.
Pushing escapes are very useful because they are easy to implement and do not require strength or explosiveness to pull off. Furthermore, they are relatively safe and can be applied in gi and no-gi. Today we’ll discuss some of the most essential push escapes you must know.
Understand that the basic premise of push escapes is to distance yourself from your opponent. The push escape is a purely defensive technique, but you can easily transition to your favorite attacks once you move away.
The best time to use the push escape is when escaping guard passes and pins. You can frame against the opponent’s head, shoulder, or arm before they settle into a good passing or pinning position.
Push Escape Vs. Guard Pass
Here is an excellent example of using the push escape when dealing with aggressive guard passers. Marcelo Garcia is by far the best athlete to watch when it comes to using push escapes. It is one of his most trusted techniques, and it is simply amazing to see him use it against the world’s greatest grapplers.
In this video, Marcelo demonstrates his approach once your butterfly guard is passed and the opponent attempts a folding pass. As soon as your opponent commits to a side in an attempt to pass, immediately sit up and frame against the neck as you base using your other arm. Doing this stops your opponent from pinning you down.
Typically, your opponent will work his way up and grab your neck. Once this happens, move your legs back and work on standing up. Always be mindful of where your elbow is relative to your opponent’s neck. If your opponent attempts to take your back, counter with a whizzer and stand up like in the first option. This technique might seem complicated but is actually easy to perform.
Push Escape Vs. Side Control
Here is another technique from Marcelo Garcia. This time he teaches the push escape from side control. Side control is one of the toughest pins to escape from. The push escape is a great option because you use your frames to create space.
The key to a good push escape from side control is not allowing your opponent to grab your head. Frame against the opponent’s arm that’s about to grab your head, sit up as you transition your grip to the elbow, push the elbow to the side, and re-establish your guard by inserting your butterfly hooks. Alternatively, you can insert your hooks behind the opponent’s foot if you can’t establish the butterfly guard.
Push Escape Vs. Reverse Kesa Gatame
The reverse kesa gatame is another annoying pin that is tough to escape from. This position usually occurs as a transition from side control. The reverse kesa gatame is a powerful pin because it can be used to set up the kimura or full mount.
In this video Gustavo Gasperin shows a nice counter to kesa gatame. It starts by pushing against the back of the opponent. If you push them far enough, it makes it difficult to go to mount as their body position is too low.
Next, grab the lapel to prevent them from turning into you. Take note that you should still be pushing against the back at this point.
From here, go to your elbow and bridge against the opponent as you swing your legs backward. Doing this will give you enough space to take the back. This is a fantastic technique to surprise unwary opponents.
Push Escape Vs. Mount
This last technique, called the kipping escape, is a cool technique to get out of the full mount. In this video, John Danaher black belt Brian Glick demonstrates the mechanics of the technique. The kipping escape is an excellent addition to your rotation of escapes. It is best used in combination with the bridging and shrimping escapes from the bottom mount because you get to unbalance the opponent’s base as you move from one technique to the next.
The technique starts by first getting the inside position. Frame your hands near the hip as you place your elbows inward. Elevate their hips using a jackknife bridge as you maintain your frames. Use your legs to turn to the side as you do the kipping motion. Doing so will give you space to transition to ashi garami.
It is important to mention that the kipping escape requires proper spacing and wedging mechanics to work. The purpose of the bridge is to create space, while the elbows act as the wedge to create openings for counterattacks.
Mastering The Push Escape
The secret to improving your push escapes is to drill from all possible scenarios. Start by practicing the four options mentioned in this article because these will surely help build your understanding of the technique. Practice the basic movements with no resistance and slowly add defenses as you improve. It is a smart idea to train both sides as well.
The push escape is a concept you can apply to almost all positions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. You can use the push escape as an extension of your frames to distance yourself from your opponent. Remember that the push escape is very powerful if your opponent is not yet fully settled. Use your frames to reposition your body, and use the push escape to diffuse their offensive attacks.
The push escape is one of those techniques that will stay with you until the black belt level. Try it out, and let us know how it goes!
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