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Three Brilliant Escapes From Garry Tonon

Three Brilliant Escapes From Garry Tonon


With the release of Garry Tonon’s new instructional, aptly titled, Exit the system, we’re getting a first hand look at the incredible escape wizardry that’s unique to Tonon. For years, we’ve witnessed some of the most exciting escape sequences in the game from Tonon, often paired with with some equally impressive counter attacks, and that’s exactly what we’re being treated to in Tonon’s newest work with BJJ Fanatics. 

The art of the escape can be tricky. When you’re dealing with attacks at the highest levels or even with someone that’s just more proficient than you, there’s lots of room for error. Being stuck in a bad position often produces mistakes and some unfavorable consequences. The decision also remains, do we just escape, disconnect and remove ourselves from trouble? Or do we turn the escape into an opportunity to become offensive? I think you know how Tonon would answer. 

The ability to remove ourselves from trouble and then mount an attack of our own is an important one to master and it would serve us well to study the methods of doing so. Tonon has several formulas with this theme as the cornerstone of the instruction. Whether your lower body is under attack, your neck, or an arm, and beyond, Tonon has an answer that not only helps you “exit the system”, but also puts you in position to attack. 

I can remember a match at ADCC years ago between Tonon and Kron Gracie. During the match, Tonon was stuck in an armbar for what seemed like an eternity. The submission took on many different forms as the two made their way through multiple positions. Tonon as able to eventually release his arm to the amazement of the crowd and all those that were tuned in, I’m sure. Since then, Tonon has provided us with countless moments where we thought he was in trouble, but was able to turn the tide of the match. I sometimes feel that Tonon purposely allows himself to be caught at the highest levels just to see if he can remove himself unscathed. Just a hunch.

Let’s look at some samples from Tonon’s newest instructional and get a feel for what we're going to experience on Exit the System. Here, we’ll take a look at some escapes involving the guillotine, the outside heel hook, and the triangle. You’ll find a unique counter attack at the close of each submission escape here, so make sure you watch the videos to completion! Let’s get started! 


We find Tonon in a very common no gi half guard scenario. The guillotine from top half guard. This is a great option for the passer, as in many cases the submission can be a real threat and if it doesn’t work out you may secure a guard pass for your efforts. 

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With his neck wrapped, Tonon’s first response is to protect his neck. He reaches up and secures his partners wrist to create some initial space. This will buy him some time as he continues to work. To keep his partner from compressing his body too tightly, Tonon will now lay back and create extension at his waist, arching his body away from the top player. 

Tonon then creates a butterfly hook with his free leg and places it under his partners right leg. As he begins to elevate the guard passer, he flattens out, and passes the leg off to his opposite foot, trapping the leg. Here, Tonon has put his partner in a precarious position. There is the threat of the submission if Tonon simply puts pressure upward on his partners wrist, but its likely that his partner will stop pursuing the guillotine and remove his arm from this situation the moment he notices the threat. As the arm is removed, back exposure reveals itself and an opportunity is granted. With a bonus technique tagged on to the end, Tonon offers the option to snag a neck attack of his own. As the arm begins to clear, Tonon simply reaches up and wraps the neck, locking a head and arm style strangle. He can finish he choke straight away or look to use the wrap to reverse his partner and finish from the top. This is really slick. 


Moving on to a late stage triangle defense, Tonon discuses an answer for this incredibly dangerous attack. You’ll find here that similar to the guillotine defense, Tonon’s first concern is creating some space. Here, he does this by locking his hands and extending his body away from his partner. The locking of the hands will help to keep his arms safe as he works through the defense. With some room created, Tonon will now begin to stand up. As he arrives at his feet, he then steps over his partner’s body and takes a seat. 

There is some jockeying for position here as the two looks to gain control of the inside track and often times, As Tonon explains, the guard player will remove his feet. If this occurs, it may give better access to actually finishing the triangle, so its something to be aware of. Tonon tucks his heels in tight to his hips and when the moment is right, he extends one leg and gains control over a bicep. He follows this up with the exact same idea on the opposite side. His hands can also become tools here to help pommel and keep his feet in position if necessary. After maintaining this position, Tonon seizes the opportunity to cross his feet, and control the wrists, now making the removal of his feet very difficult. This gives him plenty of time to extend his body and get the legs opened up. With the legs separated, he can now transition into the legs and begin to work some offensive in to the close of the technique in the form of a heel hook. Brilliant.


This last one is my favorite. Here, we’ll find Tonon escaping an outside heel hook and landing in a leg attack of his own. The details here are phenomenal. 

With the outside ashi garami in place and the heel acquired, Tonon’s partner has secured what’s probably the most solid position to capture the outside heel hook. The position will not allow Tonon to roll out unless the heel can be freed. Knowing this Tonon first begins to fight against his partner’s hands and the bite on his heel. As he creates a loop around his partners arm, he separates the hands, taking away his some of his partner’s ability to grip the heel. He then immediately works to hide the heel by slipping it over his partners forearm, back to the inside of the body. Be sure to keep control of at least one arm during this process, so that your training partner cannot reacquire the heel before you’ve had a chance to slip it. With some more great advice, Tonon also advises that we can use our opposite foot on the backside of our partner to help remove the heel as well. Keep this in mind if there’s a tight bite on your foot. 

Next, Tonon will bring his opposite leg in to the fold, joining it with his foot on the front side. Here he can use both legs as tools to push and pull, to create more trouble while his partner is trying to salvage the attack. With his leg free from danger, Tonon can now become offensive. He enters into a roll, creating a scenario where his partner must follow him. During the roll, Tonon enters in to a leg entanglement of his own. Here, he demonstrates landing in the 50/50 and also briefly touches on the inside sangaku possibility. Tonon is now in perfect position to being attacking. 

There’s so much gold here and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Exit The System By Garry Tonon is LOADED with essential escape tools EVERY grappler needs! 

Exit The System by Garry Tonon



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