The Escape Artist -Dealing with your BJJ ‘Worst Case Scenarios!

Harry Houdini was the greatest escape artist of all time.  Even though he could perform traditional card and sleight of hand tricks, he was most famous for escaping from anything and everything.  Whether it be ropes, handcuffs, straight jackets, jail cells, water filled milk cans…Houdini had a successful exit plan!  In your training you are going to find yourself in traps and predicaments that may seem reminiscent of the great Houdini.  If you want to survive and even thrive in these positions you have to first remain calm and poised. One of my favorite quotes by Houdini is, “My brain is the key that sets me free.”  What does a key do?  A key unlocks something.  If you want to unlock an escape door you have to remain calm and focused…you cannot lose your mind.  Remember, a clear mind is your most powerful tool!  This of course can be very challenging since not only are you trying to escape a bad position, but you are doing it in hostile conditions.  For example:  if your partner has your back with a seatbelt and two hooks…not only do you need to escape, but you have to do it and NOT get choked.  So there are multiple layers you’re dealing with.  1.  You need to escape, and 2. you need to do it while NOT getting killed!  So like in life…when you are facing an obstacle, don’t panic…remain calm and poised and let that be your point of focus.

Tips for Successfully Escaping:

  1.  Don’t panic – breathe and deal with the first and most immediate threat.  If they have your back it’s the hand near your throat.  Your goal is to neutralize one threat after the other until you can navigate a successful escape.
  2. Drill your escape plans from every possible scenario.  Start with developing solid, reliable escapes from the four main positions.  (guard, side control, mount, back)  Then move onto escaping from worst case scenarios.  (joint lock / choke escapes)
  3. Drill “Bad day at the office” – Drill your worst case scenarios with your partner attacking you at the same time.  The goal is to escape while under fire.
  4. Be prepared to tap at any time!  Remember the tap is the ultimate escape plan.  Of course nobody wants to tap…But NO BODY wants a broken arm either!


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