BJJ / Grappling Tips: Escape Knee On Belly / Chest

In escapes, preparation is key. You should never let your opponent settle their weight on you in any disadvantageous position such as the side, mount or indeed the knee on belly (sometimes called Knee ride).

Check out the two escapes below from knee on belly by Ralph Gracie black belt and exciting YouTube phenomenon Mr Kurt Osiander. While you watch the second escape (the one where your opponent has already put their knee on your belly / chest) think about why his right hand shoots to control the opponent's left knee?

The way I see it:

1. Both armbar attacks (nearside armbar and farside spinning armbar) need that leg to move around Kurt's head so by controlling it with a frame he successfully blocks against armbar danger.
2. Not to forget that it helps his head slip out from the high lapel control of his opponent's left hand and
3. By keeping that knee at a distance, the opponent can't just simply abandon knee on belly and step over to mount (well not for long anyway as Kurt could slide under that knee to a variety of guard / half guard attack positions)

This is just an example of how you should approach jiu jitsu mentally and strategically. Comparisons between BJJ and chess are thrown left, right and centre but what do they actually mean? After a long conversation with my jiu jitsu instructor Mr David Onuma this Saturday I'm a little clearer on the analogy.

Basically, you want to think ahead*. From any and every BJJ / grappling position, what are your opponent's options and what are yours? What do they need to do to get there and how can you stop them while at the same time facilitating your own positional progress? There are many ways to escape from a bad position, but the best ones are the ones that safely and efficiently take you to an advantageous attacking one. For example, the best sweeps or takedowns are the ones that land you clear of your opponent's guard and safe from any counters.

*warning. Thinking ahead can only rest on a clear understanding of what's happening now. It is recommended you spend a long time honing your perception and awareness of what you are doing and why and what the opponent is doing and why before you can think about what they plan on doing next. Without this awareness, jiu jitsu attacks and sweeps will always seem to magically catch you by surprise.


Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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