North-South Escapes For Jiu-Jitsu

Filed in Techniques by on August 2, 2013 6 Comments

I’ve been having a small problem while rolling lately and that problem is getting caught up being the bottom player in the north-south position. This usually happens towards the end of the night, when I’m utterly exhausted.

I’m pretty sure I got caught on Tuesday evening, as well as last night. When I’m out of gas, rolling with someone who’s heavier than I am and while I’m laying in a pool of sweat – yeah, I get really lazy and simply don’t have the energy to fight someone off who’s got their heart set on pinning me down vertically. And as you well know, north-south isn’t a position you want to get stuck in at the end of a tiring session of rolling. You’re most likely going to tap off of something or other.

What is it that Kurt Osiander says? “If you’re stuck in north-south, you screwed up a long time ago.” Something like that.

I know a few good north-south escapes and while I do find myself in the position during the scenarios I just described, I can generally get out of the mess I created. I do the, “bump up to get some space, slide both arms down towards my hips, place one on the side of my opponent’s head and the other holding his arm to the side, curl my biceps and swing my legs out and over. (first video)” That one works. I also like to slide an arm down and through to roll to my belly as well at the, “grab my opponent’s hips, push him away and bring my legs up and over to take back.” They’re all really good north-south escapes.

But, as you may well already know, if I find myself someplace unpleasant while rolling, I like to come home and study up on a whole bunch of opinion on the subject. I basically want to familiarize myself with that “world” more than I already am.

Last night, I asked myself if there were more north-south escapes out there. Obviously, the three I rely on more often than not aren’t the only escape that have been developed through the years. What are people doing these days? Because I’ll admit, I haven’t exactly focused my game on how to get out of north-south through the years.

I’m going to post a few of the more interesting videos I found. Some show escapes I’ve seen and some show escapes that are, well, how should I put it – creative. But before I list the videos, I’d like to ask you, what are you’re favorite north-south escapes? What’s your highest percentage one and which one do you rely on when you’re body’s got no more to give, but you’ve got to get out of the position? Please let me know in the comment section below. Thanks!

Spartan North South Escape with James “300″ Foster

Pedro Sauer Move of the Month: June 2011

Kurt Osiander Move of the Week – North South Escape

And if you’ve screwed up too far and your opponent is going for a Kimura, here’s a good escape by Kurt. Check it out.

Kurt Osiander Move of the Week – North South Kimura Escape

If you’d like to read what people out there are saying about how to escape north-south, check out these sites.

Escaping Side Control

North South Escape Hermit Crab

BJJ’s North South Position

Side Control Transitions to North-South & Scarf Hold

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Sites That Link to this Post

  1. August 3, 2013 | BJJ News | August 3, 2013
  2. Escaping North/South Position With Your Limbs In Tact | BJJ.ORG | October 19, 2013
  1. Ed Wassic says:

    Great post! North south is the worst position to get out for me. I do try a few of these escapes but don’t have a lot of luck. Any suggestions on what I should do?

    • Jay Gaulard says:

      Thanks for the comment Ed. First and foremost, when you get stuck in north-south, don’t panic. By getting yourself all excited in a bad position, you’re bound to make mistakes. And mistakes are exactly what the guy on top is waiting for. Believe it or not, it’s not all too simple for someone to submit you while holding you in north-south, so getting in good position as a defensive measure is critical. Once your defenses are up and the guy on top is frustrated, you should start planning your escape. Analyze what movements your opponent has made and choose the best escape based on the situation. Then, after studying your options, go for it. Please remember though, once you start going for an escape from north-south, you need to be sure to follow through. You can’t half-ass this. It’s a one shot deal and you need to make it count.

      I hope this helps.


  2. SoulRoller says:

    I just can’t help but comment on these articles. Because they are well written and have a very “scientific” approach to training.

    Of all those videos above, Kurt’s instructions are the ones that make the most sense. My own approach to N/S is to get a frame just like Kurt. Elbows in tight, but I prefer to use the frame to move towards a better position for me. Once you get the frame, the chances of getting to a better position grow exponentially. Example of a bad case of N/S: I have my head and my arm wrapped and shoulders on the mat. I need to bridge, so that I have space to move into my frame by pulling my elbow(s) in tight. Once I have a frame, I start using using it to turn and face my opponent (meaning push and shrimp away, creating lateral movement). Sometimes I go for guard, sometimes it’s better to turtle and go for the legs or for the old fashioned wrestling switch and attack the back. All that is pretty safe to do once you have gotten the frame up and running. Beleza?

    The frame is a great concept that works pretty much everywhere, even for passing the guard. I think I’ve tried to explain it before for open guard defense. It’s kinda my shortcut and guide line for everything in BJJ. It’ makes sense to me at least. I hope at least somebody gets what I mean and manages to apply it in training. :)

    Jay’s tip for Ed is good. I second it. Keep calm and manage the distance. Keep the opponent at bay, so he has no room to attack. But keep your arms close to your torso even when going for the escape. It’s always easier for the top guy, so you need to be extra careful.

    • Jay Gaulard says:

      I always appreciate your comments. They are very insightful and helpful to not only myself, but the folks who read this blog. So please comment away.

      Although I’ve never tried Kurt’s escape, I’m going to give it a shot. I actually do like all three of the escapes I’ve listed in the post. I already work the first two pretty well, but the third is new, so that should be fun.

      I agree with what you’re saying about the frame. I already try to convey the importance of framing when mounted, and if this works out in north/south, I’ll have something new to share.

      Thanks again for the comment.

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