Your cart
Total: $0.00

BJJ Instructional Videos
John Danaher Leglocks
John Danaher Back Attacks BJJ
Half Guard BJJ Instructional Video
How To Escape from Scarf Hold (Kesa Gatame) In BJJ

How To Escape from Scarf Hold (Kesa Gatame) In BJJ


The Scarf Hold (Kesa Gatame) Is One Of The Worst Positions You Could Find Yourself In! Learn the NO BS Approach To Escaping This Position From Kurt Osiander!

The scarf hold, also known as kesa gatame is a headlock type position controlling your arm and elbow, making it difficult to get out from underneath your opponent. If you have ever been stuck here before you know it sucks. It happens to all of us. It is a dangerous position to get caught in and someone who plays the position well will move in for a nasty arm bar or wrist locks for a quick submission. It is one of the most frustrating positions to get stuck in because it feels like there is almost no way out as you bear all of your opponent’s body weight, and struggle for air.

Kurt Osiander is one of those NO BS grapplers that just speaks to "men". His approach to Jiu Jitsu is simplestitc yet highly dangerous.


If you have spent any time on the mats, you have probably thought a lot about how to escape from the scarf hold. In fact, that is probably the Google search that let you to this article. Let’s explore an effective way to escape from scarf hold from the talented and hilarious Kurt Osiander. Kurt has one of the most loved personalities in BJJ and shares tons of knowledge online for the world to see. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Ralph Gracie and a cult hero in the BJJ community. So without further delay, here is how to escape from the scarf hold in BJJ. Watch the video below and then we will break down Kurt’s technique. Check it out now!

For a solid kesa gatame game, your opponent needs to control your bottom arm. So many competitors will use the standard scarf hold, which is just the head lock. When this happens usually the opponent will crank on the head or even use their pressure and obstruct your breathing in some way making you tap. First when escaping kesa gatame: get your elbow to the mat. Also, your free hand should be grabbing your opponents shoulder. If your opponent’s technique is poor sometimes you can get him off balance by pulling him across your chest. If you can’t do this then try to maintain that shoulder grip and elbow on the mat to get belly down and up to your knees in a turtle position. Be careful here though as he may as well attempt to roll you over again.

Even though kesa gatame is an incredibly difficult position to escape from, it’s not impossible. By exploiting your training partner’s control you can effectively launch a reversal. The first thing to address is the possibly of being choked. Getting up on your side will help you maintain breathing. From you make sure you stay connected to your opponent with a tight gable grip or s grip. Get your foot close to your butt to maximize the power in your hips so that you can bridge. Once you bridge you can reverse your opponent, come on top, and really make him pay.

Hopefully this gives you some things to think about the next time you are stuck in the scarf hold. If you struggle with this technique, it’s worth grabbing a training partner before class and drilling some escapes. Try to find someone your size and go about 50 percent of your regular aggression while you get a feel for the technique. Let’s face it, there is no “one quick secret” for escaping kesa gatame. It is an uncomfortable position that you mostly have to brute force your way out of. So stay calm, and remember it is not impossible!

Kurt Osiander is a true jiu jitsu renegade with an old school jiu jitsu system that just works. The cornerstone of his system is fundamental principles for escapes, defense and establishing good position.

Checl out his DVD / On Demand Series called: Fundamentals of Jiu Jitsu Renegade. You'll learn the fine details of the basic, yet tried and true sweeps, passes, submissions and escapes.



Take a deep dive on one specific skill per month with the top instructors in the BJJ Fanatics family.

With your subscription you’ll get:

  • Private Lesson (Masterclass)
  • Preview of our Upcoming Daily Deals to better plan your purchases
  • Rolling breakdowns & more.

You’ll also get At Home Drills to work on, a Preview of our Upcoming Launches More!


Learn More

Half Domination by Tom DeBlass DVD Cover
Catch Wrestling Formula by Neil Melanson
Butterfly Guard Re-Discovered Adam Wardzinski DVD Wrap
Judo Academy Jimmy Pedro Travis Stevens