If you ask the best no-gi jiu jitsu coaches in the world what you need to master first, many would suggest you master escapes. Commonly, during the first few months of jiu-jitsu, you will spend most of your time getting smashed by higher belts.
So naturally, learning how to escape from these positions is key. When you start learning escapes I would suggest focusing more on quality than quantity.
It is far better that you get good a just one or two escapes from each position than to try and learn too many at one time and never master it.
On the other hand, if you master one escape from each position, your technique in that escape can be purple belt quality even as a white belt. So learn one or two escapes from each of the bad positions in the BJJ positional hierarchy.
Why You Need To Get Good At Escapes In Jiu-Jitsu
When you are just getting started in jiu-jitsu you are going to find yourself in undesirable situations more often than not.
One of the first concepts that you will need to learn about is the BJJ positional hierarchy, which is an overview of the best to worst positions in jiu-jitsu. This is true whether you train gi, no-gi, or both.
Positional Hierarchy In BJJ
- Rear Mount
- Knee On Belly
- Side Control Top
- Half Mount
- Guard Top and Guard Bottom
- Turtle Top And Bottom
- Half Guard Bottom
- Side Control Bottom
- Knee On Belly Bottom
- Mount Bottom
- Rear Mount Bottom
In many no-gi jiu-jitsu competitions, you are awarded points for getting to better positions than your opponent. So just to understand how this works, the rear mount is considered the best position, and the rear mount bottom is considered the worst.
This is because you can attack your opponent and they are in a very bad spot to attack back. Because of this, the worst position is the exact opposite of the rear mount. That is the rear mount bottom.
The second best position is the mount and the second worst position is the person that is on the bottom of that mount position. The third best position is knee on belly top and the third worst is knee on belly bottom. I think you get the picture.
The only position considered neutral is guard top and guard bottom and turtle top and bottom. Though I don’t personally see how turtle top is not better than turtle bottom.
Best Side Control Escapes For No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu
One of the first escapes that you should learn in no-gi jiu-jitsu is an escape from side control. Though side control is not as dominant of a position as mount or back control it is the first position you will likely find yourself in.
Most likely your opponent will pass your guard and then get into the side control position before going for a side control submission, moving to mount, or taking back control
From side control, they will likely try to move to knee on belly and then mount or take your back. So your first chance of escaping once they pass your guard is likely going to be from side control. Don’t wait for them to get an even better position before trying to escape.
After all, if you are unable to escape side control then you will likely still get your chance to try and escape the mount or back. With that said, check out these no-gi side control escapes from Brandon Mccaghren’s YouTube channel.
Best Knee On Belly Escape For No Gi Jiu Jitsu
If your escape fails from side control your opponent will likely go for a submission, take your back, or move to knee on belly. So learning an escape from knee on belly that works in no-gi is likely your best chance to escape. Yes, they could try and take your back as well but do not worry, we will cover that later.
After all, the goal is to have a few escapes from each position that works in no-gi jiu-jitsu. This way, if you fail to escape from side control, you might be able to escape from knee on belly. If you fail to escape from knee on belly then you will have an escape from the bottom mount.
The point is that the more escapes that you have mastered from each position the harder it will be for a higher belt to submit or pin you.
With that said, let’s look at this simple no-gi escape from knee on belly from Alberto Serrano BJJ’s YouTube channel.
If your side control and knee on belly escape failed the next position your opponent is likely to move up to is the mount position. This is not a good place to be in because at this point they are in a very dominant position over you.
However, this does not mean that the battle is over. You still have a chance to escape the mount and get back into a better position. So naturally, the next thing you need to master is a few escapes from the bottom mount.
This video from Lachlan Giles and the Absolute MMA St Kilda – Melbourne Youtube channel goes into detail about how to think about escaping bottom mount.
Best Back Escapes For No Gi Jiu Jitsu
If you fail to escape side control or bottom mount, your opponent might go for a back take. Back control is very likely the position your opponent wants on you.
When someone has your back that means they have plenty of attacks whereas you have very few if any. You only have an attack if they misplace their feet.
For this reason, you must master a few escapes from this position that works in no-gi. Here are 5 ways to escape from back mount in no-gi from Night Jiu-Jitsu. Of course, you might just focus on one or two at first.
How To Start Learning No Gi Jiu Jitsu Escapes
If you learn a few escapes from all of the major positions your no-gi game will vastly improve. Though nothing is going to replace time in the gym, some good No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu instructionals can greatly help improve your game.
Which is why I created a list of the best BJJ instructionals on escapes. I cover the best instructionals for escapes in both gi and no gi jiu jitsu.