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Lachlan Giles’s Knee on Belly Escapes
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Lachlan Giles’s Knee on Belly Escapes

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Is there anything worse in BJJ than being stuck with an opponent’s knee sinking into your belly? 

The only thing I can think of that’s worse is being stuck in Knee on Belly right after you finished driving that all-you-can-eat pizza buffet into bankruptcy.

The point—besides the fact that pizza is the best food ever—is that you want to get out of this uncomfortable position as quickly as possible.

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Lachlan Giles offers us a number of escapes from Knee on Belly that will provide more stomach relief than a value pack of Tums.

Escape One

His first response—especially in tournaments—is to shrimp away from your opponent.  This prevents them from fully establishing the Knee on Belly position and getting points for it.

However, your opponent will more than likely follow you and persist in keeping his knee on your belly.  So, Giles advises us to place our farthest hand on our opponent’s knee while we place our other hand against the hip of the leg our opponent is balanced upon.

Giles tells us that the exact placement of our hand against the hip is not crucially important.  However, we don’t want to reach above our opponent’s waist because that puts us in increased danger of an armbar.

Once Giles has both hands in place, he hips outward and away from his opponent.  Giles wants to be on his side, facing his opponent.

Giles then uses his top leg (in this case, his left) to get over his opponent’s arm and to brace against his shoulder.  This foot helps maintain space between him and his opponent so that Giles can regain his guard.

From here, Giles will slip his lower right leg between his opponent’s arm and knee, and bracing it against his opponent’s other shoulder or bicep.  With a foot on each arm/shoulder, Giles can swivel around so that he is facing his opponent in an open guard position.

Escape Two

The second escape begins with the same hand placement as the first escape.  The far side hand is pushing against the opponent’s knee while the near side hand is braced against the opponent’s hip or thigh.

Giles then shrimps away from his opponent, just as he was doing before.  However, this time, he is looking for the space behind his opponent’s knee.  Each time Giles hips out, his opponent will hop closer to re-establish the Knee on Belly position.  During that hop, a space opens up behind the knee.

Giles wants to do two things simultaneously.  First, he wants to get to his side, facing his opponent.  Second, he wants to reach his far hand (in this case, his left) behind his opponent’s knee.  He needs to reach far enough through so that he can grab around his own top leg. Giles reaches over his own leg and around it so that the crook of his elbow is locked into the crook of his knee.

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At this point, Giles’s opponent’s leg is tightly trapped.  Giles will take advantage of his opponent’s immobility and establish a position on top of his opponent.

To do that, Giles will use his lower foot (the one against the mat) to scoot himself toward his opponent’s free leg.  As he does that, he will also roll onto his back.

The combination of the side movement along with the roll, will break his opponent’s balance.  When his opponent’s knee is on the mat, Giles uses his other hand against his opponent’s other leg to either roll him over and establish a top position, or—if he cannot get his opponent to roll over completely—to re-establish guard.

For Giles’s demonstration of both Knee on Belly escapes, see the video below:

Want more from Lachlan Giles? Check out his DVD  "The Half Guard Anthology", and get to work on improving your half guard! BJJ Fanatics has it! Check it out here!

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