Escaping the Harness: A BJJ Tutorial

Updated on July 14, 2017
revolutionbjj profile image

Andrew Smith is a 3rd degree BJJ black belt based out of Richmond, VA (Revolution BJJ). He runs the BJJ Tutorial Encyclopedia here.

Source

Tough Spot to Escape

The back mount (or rear mount, or just plain "the back") is already feared as perhaps the toughest position to escape from in all of BJJ, and certainly the one in which your partner is most likely to finish you (at least according to common wisdom). When you add the devastating upper body control that comes with the "harness" grip, it's an even more dire situation. The skateboard escape doesn't work. The "crunch and turn" movement is all but impossible with someone completely glued to your back. Waiting for them to go for a bow and arrow choke and then working an escape is an option, but it really, really shouldn't be your first one. What to do, then?

The Stack

The underhooking arm in the harness (sometimes also called the "seat belt") completely shuts down any sort of sinking escape, and turning into the choke is all but impossible. This leaves one solid route to start the escape: the stack. Start by driving your weight straight up the middle, effectively minimizing any side to side motion by your partner's hips (if you think about how you'd like to finish from the back, 90% of your options are going to involve moving your hips to the side, so reverse engineer the shutdown). From here, you're going to need to address the "choking arm" (the arm that's over the top, but hopefully isn't choking you just yet - more on that below). Start the arm passing motion by pushing up on their elbow with the palm of your hand (it's okay to grip the gi here as well), while controlling their wrist with your left hand (let's go ahead and assume they have their right hand over the top, as in the video). As you lift their elbow up, it's important to dip your head down and to the right.

Once your head has managed to dip down and over to the other side of your partner's "harness" control, it's important to switch your grip to an "arm drag" style of controlling the arm, gripping with all five fingers on the inside of the bicep with your left arm. If they try to come up right away, you might be able to establish a deep half position.

Single Wing Choke Defense

The single wing choke, or kata ha jime, is going to be pretty common when your partner has a harness grip. Fortunately, the basic mechanics at the beginning are just the same as with the typical seat belt escape. Start by stacking your partner right away, with one additional detail: make sure your partner can't lift your elbow up or away from your body (the arm they're underneath). Reaching across and gripping the sleeve of the choking arm may be helpful here (once again, reverse engineering what they're trying to do to you in order to finish the choke is very helpful). From here, once you execute your "head dip" as before, you can just start sliding off to the side, keeping your back on the mat. In this example, my partner elects not to try to come up on top, and as a result, I come up on top in side control, a classic finish to this method of escaping the back. A word of caution: if your partner tries to come up on top to mount, you've got to be ready with your free right arm to stop the advancing leg. If you can redirect their hips away from you, you can stay on top and even end up in side control.

Final Thoughts

You're going to have to practice the core movement involved with this escape a great deal in order to become comfortable with escaping this terrible position. After that, you'll need to put yourself in the position while rolling against people at or below your level, so your likelihood of pulling it off live is pretty decent. Once you get that down, you're ready to try escaping against someone who normally has your number - just be ready to tap! Tapping is, after all, learning, as cliched as that might sound. Most of all, have fun trying this stuff out, and as always, please let me know if this stuff works for you!

Would you rather escape:

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)