Two men in white uniforms practicing judo on a red mat.

The power of escapes in BJJ

The power of escapes in BJJ: When we think of powerful moves in Jiu-Jitsu, you typically picture a slamming takedown or a very tight submission hold, or perhaps an immovable pin or unstoppable pass. We don’t typically think of escapes as demonstration of power. But they are, in a different way. Those typical power moves, hard takedowns, tight submissions etc are all demonstrations of power over the opponents body. Escapes exert their power on an opponents mind. This is something I have been stressing in my teaching lately at Savarese BJJ Academy ( Imagine working hard to take an opponent down, pass his hard and get to your favorite finishing position and then have an opponent repeatedly escape. Worse still, every time he escapes he immediately counterattacks and almost catches you as you are forced to flee and start all over again. Hard work is tough, but repeated hard work with no forward progress and no prospect of it finishing is hard for the mind to handle. It breaks many people mentally. That’s exactly what unstoppable escapes do to an opponents mind in a match. If you can send a clear message to an opponent that he has no means of controlling and finishing you, the longer that match goes, the worse he will begin to feel inside. Every escape brings your confidence up and theirs down. In a long match where points are not a consideration this is a huge factor. There is no lonelier feeling than being fatigued and disheartened by repeated frustration of being close to victory but never able to secure in a match that goes until one of you quits and you now know you have no means of making the other guy quit because he can escape all your best positions without a problem. Gordon Ryan has proven this time and time again, which is one of the reasons he favors no time limits matches. Here, my friend Alan Teo and I demonstrate an escape from a headlock at an Adopt A Cop seminar. The power of Escapes is thus not over the body but over your mind and your opponents mind, now that is real power.