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Escape the Knee on Belly Position With Bernardo Faria and Lachlan Giles
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Escape the Knee on Belly Position With Bernardo Faria and Lachlan Giles

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A good knee on belly can be pretty uncomfortable, a great one can be downright sickening.

Depending on the top players understanding of weight distribution, the knee on belly position can be incredibly difficult to escape from. In the gi, where there are more anchoring points available to the top player, the position can feel like you’re in hell.

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Many times, when passing, the opportunity to transition to the knee on belly position is enticing. As we make our way around the legs it’s nice to get away from those dangerous movements of the hips that seem to foil all of our plans. Going to the knee on belly position can keep the passer clear of the hips, giving them a chance to bypass that fight for guard retention.

There are right ways and wrong ways to escape the knee on belly position. We are incredibly vulnerable on the bottom, and we have to make careful movements to escape without giving up too much. A wrong move here could lead to a back take, the mount, or a variety of submissions.

When we’re looking for answers about escaping the knee on belly, its best to query the board of experts. Bernardo Faria and Lachlan Giles have some ideas for us on how to effectively and safely remove ourselves from the knee on belly position. There are some great details here and some very helpful ideas.  

Let’s get to it!

We’ll start with Faria, and his variation. Check this out!

Faria begins with touching on one the biggest mistakes we can make from the position. Pushing on our opponent’s knee with an open far arm. This will most likely lead to the acquisition of an under hook and your subsequent demise. Avoid this tactic. Also, do not be tempted to push your partner away. Extending the arms is another pitfall when dealing with the knee on belly.

Ok now that we have the “don’ts” out of the way, let's move on to some technique.

Farai begins by positioning his forearm across his partners thigh. With his other hand, he takes a grip over his partners Achilles on the same leg. With these two anchors in place, Faria performs a bridge and uses his points of contact to push his partner leg in to his half guard. While under hooking the far leg, Faria walks his hips to his right, traveling directly in to the deep half guard.

This is an incredibly simple and effective way to recompose your guard from the knee on belly. There is no wasted movement here, and as you can see the transition to deep half guard is so close to us, that its an obvious choice when were looking to get back to a positive spot.

Let’s move on to some idea from Lachlan Giles. Giles has a great teaching style, and a super effective game. Let’s see what he has to say about escaping the knee on belly!

Giles begins with two posts. One on his partner’s knee (with a closed elbow), and one on the far hip. Giles is careful here not to extend his arm too far, or to reach for the shoulder. As we discussed before this will put your limb at risk for a nasty near side armbar.

Giles uses his two posts to hip escape and move away from his partner. He then brings his top leg over and connects to his partners shoulder. Creating space with his connection to the shoulder, Giles can now bring his bottom leg in to the mix and recompose his guard.

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In the second variation, Giles employs similar grips to begin moving away from his partner. As he begins moving his hips and his partner follows him, he looks for a moment of opportunity to make his escape. Every time his partner adjusts to his hip escape, a gap opens up. When the time is right Giles threads his far arm through this gap between his partner’s legs and over hooks his own leg. Be sure to get elbow deep here and maintain a secure tight grip on the leg.

Once the leg has been acquired Giles begins using his bottom leg to move his hips under his partner. This causes him to tilt to the other side. Once his partner knee makes contact with the mat, Giles can use his opposite grip to help him through the rest of the reversal. If you find this only off balances your opponent there is guard recovery available here as well. One final detail here. If you can’t scoot your hips under your partner, start bringing them forward. This will cause them to pass over you and allow you to escape through the back door.

Great stuff here! We’ve seen two very practical ways to exit from the bottom knee on belly position and one slightly more innovative method. However, you choose to begin escaping, you’ll need to react quickly, as things can happen very fast here if you’re idle. Good luck!

Bernardo Faria is known as one of the best teachers for all levels of Jiu Jitsu because all of his techniques require no strength, speed or flexibilty. His Jiu Jitsu Foundations DVD shows you how to learn simple concepts and approaches that will make your jiu jitsu game scary.

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